Once the domain of science fiction, artificial intelligence is now being used every day by businesses across the globe, from manufacturers producing self-driving cars, to warehouses utilising robots to assist with order processing. Over recent months, AI has been a hot topic and while the number of businesses that have integrated AI remains relatively low, it is an exciting new development that could change the way companies operate.
One industry that has started to utilise AI is delivery. We examine how the industry is making use of AI, the benefits and what the future could hold for parcel delivery companies.
Current Use of AI
In 2018, only a limited number of businesses have begun to really explore AI and experience its benefits. For companies to harness AI requires implementing new technology and processes, something that can be costly, and as such, thus far it has been large multinational companies that have adopted AI as part of their processes.
While there are companies working on automated delivery services – the latest being Pizza Hut, who recently unveiled a self-driving pizza delivery van – it is still far and few in between. Many parcel delivery companies have implemented GPS tracking and make use of automated parcel lockers, but the uptake of AI in this industry has been slow. However, warehouses are increasingly using drones, automated software, virtual reality glasses and now self-driving machines, to optimise and speed up processes.
Should the Industry be Using AI More?
One of the biggest benefits of AI is automation, allowing processes to be completed with relatively little, or even no, human input or interaction. While this has sparked debate about the impact this could have on workers – it is estimated that millions of retail employees could be replaced by robots – AI also offers a number of benefits for businesses, including:
Continual Operation: With AI’s increased automation, businesses could potentially operate continually. For delivery companies, this could lead to faster turnaround on deliveries.
Better Problem Solving: With more intelligent software and processes, AI could provide better problem-solving. The ability for fast analysis could help a delivery business to plan, problem solve and even forecast.
Increases in Tech: AI technology, such as self-driving machines and drones, could boost efficiency and speed while also reducing human error.
The Future of Parcel Delivery
Supply chain, distribution and delivery could all benefit from AI. However, with so few companies utilising AI to a larger extent, it is difficult to predict how it could affect the future of parcel delivery.
That said, AI will undoubtedly continue to grow, and this will lead to a parcel delivery industry that is more innovative on a global scale. With an increase in AI, delivery companies like TNT Direct could benefit from 24/7 operational warehouses, more automated software, self-driving cars and self-learning machines. However, when implementing AI, businesses must handle this carefully, ethically and with consideration for employees. Companies will also need to have the correct technology in place to allow such transformations and be able to benefit from AI.
Further developments in AI will undoubtedly drive changes in the delivery industry. It just remains to be seen exactly what these will be.