How Logistics Can Be The Job Of A One-Man Army


According to the WorldMetrics’ 2024 report, a significant 30% of disruptions in the supply chain can be attributed to human error

The answer lies in tech-driven logistics, particularly AI-fuelled tools - one of the necessary keys to overcoming the obstacles in the supply chain journey

AI-driven shipping solutions also help cut down NDRs and RTOs by over 50% ensuring profitability for tech-aided businesses

The concept of the one-man army, capable of simultaneously battling multiple enemies, is far-fetched and fantastical. But is this sustainable or even perfectly executable? According to the WorldMetrics’ 2024 report, a significant 30% of disruptions in the supply chain can be attributed to human error. 

In reality, the one-man army is simply a point of contact in the larger scheme of things. Their effectiveness relies on support and recognition from others. How can a one-man army truly exist in the complicated, chaotic universe of shipping and remain beyond the scope of human error?

The answer lies in tech-driven logistics. (No, we aren’t talking about the famous DeLorean from Back to the Future!)

AI-fuelled tools are entering every possible realm from art to medicine, often accompanied by a flurry of controversy. While some innovations occur purely to test the boundaries of human imagination, others follow the true path of design – to find a creative solution to a problem. 

We cannot deny its impact on bettering the qualitative nature of certain things. One such undertaking is the crafting of necessary keys to overcome the obstacles in the supply chain journey. 

Is There A Need For Intelligent Intervention?

According to Research&Markets, AI-enabled supply chains are 67% more effective than their non-AI counterparts, thanks to reduced risks and lower overall costs.

Much like the journey of Hercules to his ‘twelve labours’, the supply chain highway that gets goods from ‘point A to point B’ is vulnerable to challenges en route. Multiple pitstops require monitoring & management such as service operator switches, metamorphosis of goods, and changes in route & delivery deadlines. 

This path is paved by information. Human data entry is prone to mistakes and oversights. And so, getting the data right so the package gets delivered at the right place and at the right time is a herculean task.

According to G2, Excel spreadsheets are the primary operational tool for 46% of supply chain experts. This 46% is vulnerable to the 30% of human error mentioned earlier, which can impact customer experience, in-house operations and relationships with vendors and businesses. As a result, customer retention rates, shipping costs, warehousing costs, committed SLAs, and even inventory can be negatively affected.

AI-driven shipping management solutions allow businesses to operate with a lean and mean logistics team. Once the configuration and setup are complete, their presence is required only on critical issues that need a touch of human interaction. 

So, with the possibility of >60% savings in shipping costs, why the hesitance? 48% of businesses say cost is the main obstacle to technology adoption, followed by return on investment (ROI) estimates (40%) and not knowing where to begin (35%). 

Where Does One Begin?

Seemingly straight out of Jetsons, intelligent AI & ML systems help accelerate three major components – pre-dispatch, post-dispatch, returns & exchanges. Automated AI-driven pre-dispatch tools cover all operations from the time an order has been placed at a store, all the way till the carrier partner picks it up from the hub. 

This eliminates the time-consuming manual processes of the Flintstonian Age, such as allocation of the right shipper, notifying the shipper about the pickup, generating documents necessary for the passage of the package, creating airway bills and even reminders to the shipper if the scheduled package pickup has failed.

Automating pre-dispatch tasks significantly improves order-to-dispatch TAT; particularly useful during the festive season and for businesses dealing with products that are ordered/created/customised on demand.

Post-dispatch tools cover all aspects of order status and related alerts once the package has been picked up by the shipper. These include API-based real-time shipment tracking on a service provider’s platform, delay prediction, milestone-based alerts to shoppers and non-delivery resolutions.

These configurable functionalities can be automated to run like clockwork to ensure the logistics team and shopper have visibility of the package. This set of features helps boost customer experience and improve the in-house team’s control over orders in transit.

Returns and exchange portals can be intelligently automated to process and accept or reject, shopper-initiated requests according to preset rules. The entire logistical aspect of returns & exchanges can also be configured similarly to the pre-dispatch journey with the pickup location being the customer’s address and the drop location being the business’s hub.

The bonus of a tech-boosted returns & exchanges module lies in the capability to monetise them, enhance shopper experience with speedy processing, and let automation deal with the logistics of it all.

What About The Cost & ROI?

Rather than considering the cost unilaterally, one needs to look at the impact of AI tech on business operations holistically. For example, intelligent logistics platforms enable visibility to all in-house teams through accessible digital data. 

The real-time notifications sent to customers reduce order-related queries, ensuring only a bare-bones support team is needed for sensitive issues such as that crazy watermark on Dunder-Mifflin paper.

AI-driven shipping solutions also help cut down NDRs and RTOs by over 50% ensuring profitability for tech-aided businesses. The swift resolutions also help brands garner positive NPS and improve brand perception in the market.

The cost? Compared to the amount of in-house tech businesses would need to build to match their speed of scaling, the constant tweaking, the tech team, and the expense of it all? Negligible. Plus, it’s always best to rely on expert solution providers rather than risk experimenting with the heart of any business, i.e. logistics.

The Final Word

Remove the tech, and Batman is just a sad, angry individual trying to fight injustice, limited by his human capabilities. Add in tech, and this vigilante becomes the one-man army capable of defeating a legit superhero. 

This euphemism perfectly sums up an article advocating the possibility of making logistics the job of a one-man army, backed by the incredible tech available on the market today.

Note: The views and opinions expressed are solely those of the author and does not necessarily reflect the views held by Inc42, its creators or employees. Inc42 is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by guest bloggers.

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