Inbound Logistics | April 2022


inspect its rolling fleet. An AI-powered app such as Cogniac could analyze the video to quickly identify an issue with one freight car’s wheelset, then notify the appropriate maintenance team to address the issue. 4. Supply chain. If only the company that sold me my couch had an integrated track-and-trace system, one that could monitor a product’s journey from factory to warehouse to order fulfillment with geolocation capability and full visibility into logistics service providers and carrier networks. Evidently the home furnishing company’s track-and-trace capabilities don’t quite reach far enough, because as I write this, they still can’t tell me where my couch is and when it might be delivered. One thing I can say with certainty, though, is that whenever that furniture truck finally arrives, I’ll do my part to boost employee satisfaction by tipping the delivery people generously. n

and preserve the quality of their customer experience.

2. Finance. Today’s generation of integrated digital platforms for managing financials and accounting provides a viable—and in many cases, much- needed—alternative to the notoriously siloed, disjointed, manually intensive systems on which many organizations have relied. By incorporating artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and advanced automation capabilities, these platforms can execute and manage a huge range of processes and tasks that otherwise would require manual intervention across multiple systems, and do so much more quickly and efficiently than those multiple systems could. Many high-volume transportation and logistics organizations are shifting to these integrated platforms for pricing, order management, billing and collections, invoice processing, receivables and payables management, fees and commissions, demurrage, re-rating, and reporting. One big advantage with these systems is their ability to manage thousands of highly complex contracts, with all the unique terms, conditions, tariff requirements, and other conditions they may bring. They can automate many previously labor-intensive manual processes and rapidly collect, analyze, update, and provide insight into huge volumes of data and records from disparate sources and systems. The result: fewer disputes and faster reconciliation, settlement and collections with customers, partners, vendors and the like, which not only makes the supply chain run more efficiently, it also helps companies recognize revenue faster. And, as complicated as many supply chain ecosystems have become, an integrated finance platform can bring simplicity, process automation, standardization, and clarity to areas of finance and accounting where they are needed most. 3. Asset management. More efficiently and intelligently managing assets is another way transportation and logistics companies can add resilience

By integrating real-time onboard and trackside monitoring data from multiple tracking systems with sophisticated tools like digital twin, companies such as Swiss Railways are replacing costly, disruption-prone run-to-failure maintenance strategies with a proactive maintenance approach across the entire rolling fleet. They use real-time data and AI- and ML-powered tools to strengthen planning, improve failure discovery, identify issues before they escalate, speed up maintenance work and ultimately reduce disruption to its fleet. With the help of AI and ML technologies, companies across the transportation and logistics landscape— rail, trucking, shipping—now have the ability to remotely inspect and analyze the condition of equipment, then identify and address potential issues. Say, for example, a rail company could use connected remote cameras to

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April 2022 • Inbound Logistics 35

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