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How AI technology is digitising supply chain processes

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/KAMONRAT)

In recent years, the dependence on artificially intelligent beings has become all the craze among business community.  The more that the AI technology develops, the higher is the craze for its adoption across different business processes. AI coupled with Industry 4.0 or the forth industry revolution has led to complete digital makeover of modern-day businesses. Supply chain and logistics businesses are quick to adopt AI technology like chatbots to deal with more and more nodes in their distribution network.

Chatbots have emerged strongly on the large scoping radar of AI, impacting different aspects of business functions. With supply chain and logistics becoming more complicated in the age of industrial IoT, the need for AI-enabled chatbots is much higher in this field.

What’s interesting about chatbots is that it delivers more value than the original Chat. Backed by artificial intelligence and automation, chatbots or IM ensures smooth interactions in the natural language. On the contrary, many procurement solutions used by logistics companies are still struggling in keeping the communication conversational during a chat.

Chatbot as a procurement assistant

The use of chatbots in B2C is quite popular with e-commerce website and lifestyle brands using Natural language Processing (NLP) to help visitors navigate their search through different product possibilities. In the above-given example, the purpose of H&M’s chatbot is to narrow down the search of people for outfit possibilities, and fulfil their product desires by acting as a live sales assistant.

AI-powered virtual assistants are also playing a major role in B2B purchasing by helping users overcome procurement complexities. Chatbots or simply bots are used by many B2B companies to increase procurement efficiency with easy navigation through choices and faster processing. By automating complex B2B procurement processes and assisting in payments, chatbots are replacing spoken words with on-screen conversations efficiently.

How chatbots help navigate B2B procurement complexities

Along with offering natural-language interfaces, many chatbots also assist businesses in learning more about users’ preferences. By leveraging machine learning, chatbots can also guide users’ actions and ensure speedy processing.

Those who are using chatbots also suggest its advantages in reducing time-consuming tasks like generating invoices. By navigating the correct path through an organisation, chatbots can help buyers get approval for purchase quickly and ensure quick payment.

Also, invoice errors like inaccurate pricing, mismatch with buyers’ rules, etc. can be reduced significantly. Procurement Assistants can also search for alternative suppliers and provide accurate information to buyers.

Although virtual assistant technology is a new concept in B2B procurement, it will not take long to achieve its full potential. This year, many new vendors are likely to adopt machine learning and chatbots to ensure simplicity at every stage of procurement for both parties.

AI technology for spend analytics, compliance check and more

­Chatbot Assistants help with operational procurement in many other ways than just ensuring speedy payment. Backed by machine learning and AI technology, chatbots can be applied on all transactions happening at B2B marketplaces to identify procurement requests and manage buyers’ expectations.

Spend analytics is another advantage of using AI technology in logistics and supply chain management. This is helping many businesses check for compliance and exceptions along with predicting pricing patterns.

Organisations are also using AI and digital technologies in supply chain management extensively. The massive amount of data created by supply chains is helping organisations have a better understanding of variables. Accordingly, supply chain managers can anticipate future scenarios and reduce the time to market. Agile supply chains can be created when you can foresee upcoming hassles.

Big business or a thriving start-up, AI is for all

Chatbots are widely used by logistics companies to streamline their shipping processes. Navmart is a company in North America, which is responsible for around 80 per cent of North America’s car navigation system. The company has developed its own logistics management platform that aids in navigation and carrier routing. Its AI-enabled logistics management platform is quite successful in providing real-time driving updates, helping shipment carriers reach to the destination safely and right on time.

Chatbots are also helping streamline shipping processes by making data related to shipping operations available readily. Details regarding customer orders, fleet availability, warehousing and personnel availability can be available at ease via AI technology to help logistics companies speed up the shipping process cost-effectively. One such logistics company is ARL-shipping, which has succeeded in reducing the human labour considerably with its chatbot shipping app that can be used via Facebook. The company can follow cargos in route to ensure hassle-free movement.

Walmart, the online retail giant is also adopting AI and machine learning to enhance the shopping experience of its customers. They want to create a seamless experience for those who are buying from their stores and ordering online. Through AI-powered delivery platforms, Walmart is ensuring that all online deliveries reach their customer within the promised time.

Thanks to natural language processing and natural language understanding (NLU) techniques that Walmart has come up with Jetblack, a concierge shopping service exclusively for time-strapped urban parents. Using NLP and personalisation algorithms, its chatbot ensures that the needs and expectations of customers are fulfilled accurately. 

Wrapping up

Chatbots and other AI technologies are emerging as the future interface of modern-day companies, as these help them focus on more strategic endeavours. The current wave of automation in the form of chatbots is more intelligent and exciting. And, this is what logistics companies need at this moment to manage routine tasks efficiently and think of the bigger picture. Those companies which don’t want to be tagged as just a margin-oriented logistics provider are finding AI, chatbot and other technologies quite useful. As, these technologies give them access to information in the right time and allow them to experiment. Switch to AI today, and be ready to be a digital giant of logistics industry!

Kalpana Arya, Writer, Techjockey (opens in new tab)
Image source: Shutterstock/KAMONRAT

Kalpana is a tech enthusiast, presently working as a Content Expert with TechPillar. Tech blogging is her passion, through which she intends to explore the world of software & hardware.