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The role of AI in transforming last-mile delivery services

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By Ratheesh D, Director, CABT Logistics

The aftermath of the Covid wave sent the entire globe in shock. Amidst the chaos, it became all the more important to stay connected digitally. Be it communicating online, working from home, shopping online or e-education, tech and AI helped power the world through this difficult phase. One of the major beneficiaries of these technological advancements was the logistics sector. With multiple lockdowns, restricted movement, border restrictions etc, consumers found solace in seamless doorstep deliveries. Delivery of essential and non-essential products required re-assessing the logistics sector and working towards advanced, tech-enabled solutions to revolutionaries the same. That is how the last-mile sector went through a transformation almost overnight, gaining prominence, agility and technological update.

The pandemic catapulting E-commerce and Q-commerce to new heights, offering seamless deliveries propelled by advanced analytics and automation and tech tools. Here’s how seamless last-mile deliveries became possible with tech and AI-powered solutions.

1. SaaS advancements: Intelligent and responsive SaaS platforms provide perfect co-ordination between, multi-point picks ups and places of delivery while nailing end-to-end visibility which is instrumental for last-mile deliveries. Advancements in technologies like AI, blockchain and big data provide made the same possible.

2. Inventory management: With real-time insights about order placements and cancellations, the sellers can identify the demand and supply graph ahead of time and furnish inventory. The tech tools in place help smooth the last-mile operations. From the time of collection of an order from the seller to the final last-mile delivery to the customer, the logistics team is now aware of the order placement and cancellations, all thanks to technological advancements and tech-enabled software in place aiding cost optimization as well.

3. Supply Chain Management: Strategic decisions such as micro-warehousing, set-ting up dark stores, sorting facilities, manpower, rider tie-ups based on pin codes and demand and supply etc are no longer a tedious process, thanks to advanced technology and AI. Logistics has transcended from being a back-end process to being an important limb of a business. Last-mile delivery and end-to-end visibility aided by tech and AI help in keeping the supply chain robust and agile.

4. Automation: Back-end processes such as sorting, order picking and FDA are moving towards automation. The process stands to ultimately aid with rapid last-mile deliveries without putting human lives at risk. Automation can help companies combat this issue by eliminating issues like human errors, unnecessary delays, risks to human life, pilferage and ultimately speed up the process. Besides automation for warehousing, retail behemoths have also started drone deliveries in limited areas to further last-mile deliveries.

Efficiency, advancement and convenience are what technology and AI have brought to the logistics sector helping this sector accelerate growth at a scale never imagined before.

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