CHECKINGIN Articial andHuman Intelligence: An Unbeatable Combination
Vol. 42, No. 4 April 2022 THE MAGAZINE FOR DEMAND-DRIVEN ENTERPRISES www.inboundlogistics.com
PUBLISHER Keith G. Biondo
I nvestment in logistics technology—$26 billion in the past seven years—is white hot right now. Here’s a small sampling of the types of solutions that venture capitalists are nancing: • An articial intelligence (AI)-driven demand- prediction engine that helps lifestyle brands forecast how many units of a particular item will sell. The mission? To better match global inventory levels to demand before the demand.
EDITOR Felecia J. Stratton
SENIOR EDITOR Katrina C. Arabe
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Merrill Douglas • Thomas Gresham Karen M. Kroll • Helen Mann
CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jeof Vita
DESIGNER Nicole Estep
Keith Biondo, Publisher
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• AI-powered warehouse management software solutions that optimize operations globally, while shaving costs and providing better fulllment percentages. • A full-stack, low-cost agri-tech startup targeting farmers in developing countries that uses AI to bring process optimization tools to areas that previously were not plugged into the global techno web. • Online marketplaces using AI to aggregate and deliver automobile and other spare parts on specialty e-commerce platforms. The value proposition: limit inventory investment and offer e-commerce-style delivery to “under- served” market sectors. AI, AI, AI! The buzz-worthiness of that acronym is driving billions in investment, and rightly so. We are all aware of what AI can do to power complex demand-driven solutions in a high-speed dynamic global market. OK, let me say it. AI driving the nest transportation and supply chain solutions cannot solve all problems. Given the disproportionate emphasis on AI, especially in investment and news coverage, I want to posit a reminder that there are plenty of non-AI-driven technologies solving enterprise logistics challenges. You’ll nd some of the best solutions in our annual Top 100 Logistics Technology Providers list ( pg. 74 ) in this edition. I recently ran across an opinion piece by Michael Wax, managing director and co-founder of Forto, titled Combining Human Expertise With State-of-the- Art Logistics Technology . Back in 2018, I oated a similar idea, except I called it the Human Experience or HX . True then, truer now. A recent example of combining human expertise with technology comes from Toyota Motor Company North America. Bob Young, group vice president of purchasing and supplier development, has access to a broad range of technology, including AI. It’s Toyota, after all. But it’s the giant whiteboard on the wall where Young and his team list and track the problems of the world and their related supply disruptions in up-to-the minute detail. In March, Young’s team and their whiteboard were tracking at least 70 threats to the production and delivery of Toyota vehicles to dealerships across America. A whiteboard, dry erase markers, and supply chain practitioners with superior skills and intelligence, along with the latest technology, create an unbeatable combination. n
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6 Inbound Logistics • April 2022
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