How AI Made it Into the Supply "ChAIn"

AI and computer vision can improve the logistics chain and ensure packages are delivered on time and efficiently. As e-commerce grows, AI and computer vision will play an increasingly important role in package delivery.

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The idea of machines capable of thought was once considered a science fiction concept, portrayed in movies such as 2001: A Space Odyssey, Blade Runner, Terminator and The Matrix. However, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has become a reality. As early as the 1950s, the first AI program was created, but progress could have been faster due to limitations in computer storage and processing speeds. With technological advancements, companies like IBM can fit more transistors on a chip than ever before, allowing for faster and more efficient AI systems.

AI Became The Supply Chain’s Secret Weapon

Today, the increase in package deliveries presents unprecedented challenges for property managers and building owners tasked with managing the influx of packages and ensuring efficient delivery to residents. According to a 2022 UPS report, the company sent 36.5 million packages per day and 25 billion per year. By contrast, according to Statista, in 2021 (most recently reported numbers), Amazon Logistics delivered approximately 4.75 billion packages in the United States. Statista also reported that in the fiscal year of 2022, the FedEx Ground segment of FedEx Corporation delivered just over three billion packages. Fortunately, AI and computer vision technology are rising to the challenge, transforming how packages are delivered and managed.

AI is no stranger to the shipping industry. For example, Amazon uses AI to predict shipping demand and pre-position products close to shipping addresses. This pre-position helps ensure packages are delivered on time and improves the customer experience. The U.S. Postal Service is also using AI through its “ORION” program, which provides directions for its drivers enroute to delivery destinations. Furthermore, apartment and multi-family property managers use computer vision to automate package management. For example, couriers can now deliver packages directly into an intelligent package management room, where computer vision virtually tags and monitors the location of each package. In addition, logistics companies use computer vision to audit the package dimensions traveling through their hubs, which helps to streamline and enhance the customer experience by automating the measurement of package dimensions and reducing costs.

AI Is Driving Shipping Platforms

AI and computer vision continue to do the mundane jobs people are reluctant to perform. For example, Py-tesseract is a tool that enables data extraction from an image to further process a document after scanning. In addition, this tool can detect dimensions from an image, offering better services and accurate customer costs.

Another important application of AI in the shipping industry is the coordination and communication of deliveries. is applying AI to help communicate and coordinate deliveries, from messaging to scheduling, drastically improving delivery experiences through AI-driven chatbots. This way, customers will have a better experience receiving updates about their deliveries and an easier time scheduling and tracking their packages.

AI Elevates Customer Experiences

Staff shortages are expected as the industry continues to recover from the pandemic. As a result, associates and job candidates have more bargaining power, and retailers need help filling open positions. Retailers repeatedly say they would not consider any technology that increases workloads. However, retailers focus on projects that improve the customer experience without increasing costs while improving net operating income.

The combination of AI and computer vision and consumers' preference for self-service experiences has long indicated a shift away from traditional operating methods. Regarding retail, a big motivation behind the AI and computer vision efforts is to improve package management efficiency by aligning staff resources with service delivery needs—with the ultimate goal of increasing net operating income by enhancing the customer experience. It’s important to note that staff reduction is not the primary objective and only a secondary benefit achieved. The primary aim is to achieve the same level of customer experience with the same or fewer staff counts.

In Conclusion

AI and computer vision technology are transforming the shipping, supply chain and package management industries. AI and computer vision can improve the logistics chain and ensure packages are delivered on time and efficiently. As e-commerce grows, AI and computer vision will play an increasingly important role in package delivery.

By automating various processes and providing real-time data, AI and computer vision can also help to reduce costs and increase efficiency for logistics companies. Additionally, computer vision in package management allows for the real-time monitoring of packages while eliminating manual tracking—allowing staff members to focus on other tasks or customer service.

It’s evident that the explosion in e-commerce has resulted in a corresponding increase in package deliveries; with the help of AI and computer vision, it would be easier to keep up with the demand. However, one of the most important benefits of using AI and computer vision in the shipping, supply chain and package management industries is the ability to handle this dramatic increase in the volume of packages. Simply put, these technologies allow companies to handle more packages while still providing efficient and reliable services.