How Machine Learning Can Improve Supply Chain Efficiency
An increasingly global economy and changing customer expectations have forced organizations around the world to rethink their supply chain strategy over the past few years. To manage a high volume of inventory and shipments around the world, organizations have turned to modern technology.
In particular, machine learning and AI have transformed global supply chains. This innovative new technology enables organizations to monitor their shipments automatically as they move from the manufacturer all the way to the end customer. AI helps companies run their supply chains more efficiently and prevent mistakes from happening.
At Unilog, we help our clients implement AI technology across their supply chain operations. Our advanced Logivice system connects key pieces of data from across your supply chain, and AI technology sends notifications to prevent missed or incorrect shipments before they happen. With AI, we can also collect helpful pieces of data and insights to make your supply chain even better. This is only the beginning for machine learning technology – here’s how it will improve supply chain efficiency in the years to come.
Implementing AI across the supply chain is an effective way to improve your overall performance and keep your clients happy. At Unilog, we use our Logivice software to ensure that all orders go out on time.
For example, if an order is due to leave the warehouse on a specific date and hasn’t gone out by the afternoon, the system will automatically send notifications to the warehouse and to your supply chain managers. This gives you time to solve the problem and ship the order to avoid delays.
AI and IoT technology could also help you improve order accuracy. The IoT, or Internet of Things, is a global system of smart devices and sensors that communicate using the internet. IoT technology uses trackers and sensors to monitor the location of your inventory. With IoT technology, you can ensure that products are in the right place at the right time and prevent costly mistakes.
AI technology is also very helpful for cutting back on waste throughout the supply chain. AI prevents shipping mistakes that could result in the loss of valuable inventory. AI technology can also provide helpful insights about your supply chain. With this extra information, you can identify places where you can cut back on wasteful packaging. The benefits of waste reduction are twofold – not only do you minimize your negative impact on the planet, but you’ll also keep your costs reasonable.
Inventory Management and Demand Planning
Another area where machine learning has been incredibly effective for supply chains is inventory management. Keeping your inventory secure and organized is a major challenge for any retailer, particularly if you’re running a global supply chain with multiple warehouses and a full slate of products.
AI streamlines this process to help keep your inventory organized and your warehouses running efficiently. This technology can help you identify when products need to be restocked or when you’re running out of space.
Additionally, AI and machine learning are very helpful for supply and demand planning. It’s normal for supply and demand to fluctuate throughout the year as a result of fluctuating consumer shopping patterns. Predicting supply and demand ahead of time can help you build an appropriately-sized stockpile of product without ordering too much or wasting any product.
To predict supply and demand, you’ll need to look at sales trends from previous years as well as unique variables that could affect your sales this year. While there are formulas you can use to calculate demand manually, the process can be time-consuming and frustrating. AI can handle supply and demand forecasting for you, providing helpful data that you can use for busy periods of the year. While machine learning isn’t 100 percent accurate, it provides invaluable insights that can help you prevent stockouts.
Visibility across your supply chain is key to efficiency and success. All relevant parties need to be able to see where inventory is and what shipments you have coming up. Prior to the advent of cloud technology and AI, it was very difficult for companies to maintain full supply chain visibility. Achieving an appropriate level of visibility required near-constant communication among manufacturers, warehouses, and transportation partners.
AI technology has streamlined this process. Unilog’s Logivice software program serves as a control panel for your entire supply chain, allowing you to view the status of all your orders at a glance and monitor inventory as it moves from manufacturing to your warehouse to the end customer. All relevant parties can access order data at a glance in the Logivice software thanks to cloud technology.
Developing efficient global shipping routes can be a huge challenge. You’ll need to find the right carrier and determine the fastest and safest way to get your products to their final destination. Shipments often have to go through specific distribution centers or hubs before their final delivery, which makes route planning even more challenging. Weather issues and political shifts can also force you to re-evaluate your routes at the last minute.
Machine learning technology has the potential to make shipping routes more efficient. An AI could assess your current routes and destinations and look for alternative options to help you save time and money. An AI could also warn you of possible roadblocks on your current routes, such as natural disasters or changing shipping regulations, and suggest solutions to make sure your deliveries reach their final destination on time.
As AI technology becomes more advanced, we can expect to see organizations around the world implement it in many different ways across their global shipping routes. Investing in AI technology now can save your organization time and money for years to come. AI technology handles some of the most challenging parts of supply chain management automatically, giving your team more time to focus on what they do best.
If you need help managing your supply chain, Unilog can help. As a 4PL provider, we provide comprehensive end-to-end supply chain management. Contact us today to learn more about our services.