Saahil Goel is the CEO and Co-Founder of Shiprocket, an AI powered Logistics Technology Platform. He is also fondly referred to as the de-facto CPO, given his passion for products, growth hacking and technology. As a startup CEO, Saahil’s chief responsibilities include questioning everything that impacts the business, breaking existing barriers and practising and developing unconventional solutions from the ground up. Along with overall management of the company, he actively heads product strategy, user experience and growth initiatives.
The past 18 months have seen major disruptions on a global scale in businesses across verticals and the supply chain market has been at the forefront. At the outset of the pandemic, with several countries imposing nationwide lockdowns, supply chains around the world took a major hit, almost coming to a standstill. The crisis has underscored the significance of seamless supply chain and logistics operations and has proven to be a major turning point for players in the sectors.
Now, as businesses make a gradual recovery, there is no doubt that technologies such as AI, IoT, Data Analytics, ML, etc., have been instrumental not only in accelerating business revival but have also helped players adapt to the scenario. Although AI has been a predominant presence even before the pandemic, the onset of the crisis fast-tracked its incorporation in the logistics and supply chain sectors, transforming them and leading to multiple ground-breaking innovations, besides streamlining the supply chain management process to a large extent.
In fact, a report by McKinsey stated that 44% of businesses that it surveyed reported that they experienced greater cost reductions by leveraging AI. For the supply chains, the cost reduction has been even more impactful as AI brings increased operational efficiency, advancing supply chains further. That said, the million-dollar question now, is how?
Garnering data-driven insights
AI is a broad spectrum under which data gathering plays a pivotal role. Today, with the D2C wave sweeping across the country as consumers increasingly shop online, there is a sea of data being generated on the internet. Besides, consumer expectations and preferences are also rapidly evolving giving rise to the need for a powerful tool that can analyze this data and help logistics and e-commerce fulfillment platforms cater better to their customers. This is where AI comes into the picture.
Powered by data and having the ability to maximize the potential of data gathering, AI helps restructure supply chains with data-driven insights, thereby mitigating the risk and making for a better customer experience. This is primarily done through predictive analysis.
Studying the past to predict the future
The phrase ‘history repeats itself’, is one that is often used and with good reason. Identifying past patterns and studying them can go a long way in predicting future trends that may manifest in the industry. Using AI, logistics platforms can improve the processes, alter their shipping patterns, and predict consumer behavior, thereby providing timely deliveries to customers with no errors in the orders.
Furthermore, the past 18 months have seen a major surge in demand for e-commerce as consumers have increasingly taken to online shopping. AI’s power allows platforms to forecast the demand and cater to consumers more efficiently, boosting retention and satisfaction. Also, with logistics platforms increasingly leveraging AI for predictive analysis, supply chain visibility is enhanced, route optimization is possible, and tracking shipments becomes easier. Overall, the entire end-to-end operations become more efficient.
AI for choosing the right courier partner
Besides the inventory management, warehousing, etc., choosing the right courier partner is crucial to ensure the shipments are delivered to the right place at the right time. This is often one of the biggest challenges for e-commerce sellers since key factors such as Turnaround Time (TAT), freight cost, and even customer satisfaction depend on the courier partner. To make this process hassle-free for sellers and boost customer satisfaction, logistics and fulfillment platforms are harnessing AI to help sellers choose the right partner.
Yet another disruptive solution powered by AI, courier recommendation platforms, an intelligent tool that recommends the ideal courier partner for the shipments, are increasingly being preferred to augment supply chain efficiency. With features such as Cash on Delivery (COD) remittance, Return to Origin (RTO), pickup performance, and delivery performance, AI offers all-encompassing services when it comes to choosing courier partners for seamless shipping.
Although this technology is yet to be launched in the market or used regularly, it is well underway. Considerably enhancing operational efficiency, autonomous vehicles are not only highly reliable but also offer more predictable results and optimize costs in the supply chain. In fact, e-commerce giants are already testing drone delivery of shipments to enhance efficiency and avoid delays. Autonomous vehicles will help the supply chain industry overcome transportation challenges and ultimately streamlining the entire shipping and fulfillment process.
Incorporating AI in the supply chain will open several new avenues and enable quality assurance alongside predictive analysis, greater customer satisfaction, etc. Besides the cost reduction in the supply chain market in terms of freight management, maintenance, safety, and manpower, AI can also assist in creating sustainable logistics by cutting down on harmful emissions with streamlined supply chains.
All in all, AI is undeniably transforming the supply chain industry by disrupting the approach to every aspect – be it warehouse management, optimizing last-mile deliveries, or gauging data and patterns to predict future trends and consumer expectations. Given the pace at which AI is taking over the world, supply chain players who adopt this disruptive technology will be able to sustain their business and progress faster in the market that is witnessing cut-throat competition. We have barely scratched the surface of the immense potential that AI holds – increasing its implementation in the supply chain will enable exponential growth and progress.