Supply chain issues persist in every industry, presenting a difficult challenge to manufacturers, suppliers, distribution partners and, ultimately, consumers. But artificial intelligence, along with augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) tools, promises to help ease the strain, producing large-scale efficiencies for logistics providers.
Problems include poor or constrained planning capability, resulting in mismatched supply and demand, along with higher operational costs. Supply chains are also suffering from unsuccessful B2B integrations with software systems, and an overall inability to react to unforeseen changes.
Today’s leading logistics and supply chain organizations are relying on AI tools and analytics to make improvements in key areas. Algorithm-based data resources are helping to identify the potential impact of supply disruptions, changes in customer demand and deviations from the plan. They’re forecasting demand through AI-driven data analytics, bolstered by natural-language processors such as ChatGPT for building warehouse- and order-planning strategies.
In addition, AR/VR headsets are keeping track of orders, inventory and shipments, as well as counting working hours and suggesting break times to keep workers alert. For logistics providers, AR/VR technology allows companies to conduct real-time 3D visualization and computer-assisted design (CAD), and realize faster training cycles.
Many companies report fewer errors using AR/VR through instructions overlay, remote assistance and better planning and visualization. The result, in some instances, has been a productivity increase of more than 40%.
One factor that facility managers must take into account is that not all automation systems are created equal. It’s important to pay close attention to the technology infrastructure, and choose a platform that’s cloud-enabled. By adopting cloud-based (or remote server-based) AR/VR platforms, powered by distributed architecture and 3D vision-based AI, logistics companies can drive innovation at speed and scale.
While technologies like AR/VR have been in use for several years, many companies have chosen to deploy virtual systems that are built upon on-premise environments, where the data is stored locally. But on-premise infrastructures limit the speed and scalability needed for today’s virtual designs, as well as the ability to share critical knowledge between supply chain organizations.
As more logistics companies implement AI technologies like predictive modeling, and natural language processors like ChatGPT, they will also begin to draw on the powers of AR/VR virtualization to enable the most efficient supply chain possible.
Dijam Panigrahi is co-founder and chief operating officer of Grid Raster Inc.
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