With the holidays approaching and COVID-19 still disrupting normal business, experts are predicting the largest e-commerce shopping season ever. Online purchases are expected to explode, and consumers will be obsessed with tracking their shipments 24/7.
As businesses invest more and more in technology – artificial intelligence, automation, and machine learning, for example – production and fulfillment have become streamlined and transparent. The order fulfillment and shipping industry has experienced a wealth of leading-edge innovations that simplify the supply chain, resulting in a digital freight model connecting shipping demand with carrier capacity and availability. While these innovations modernize certain processes, they should never override the relationship between provider and client.
In the logistics arena, several recent technical advances streamline the supply chain. artificial intelligence (AI) can be thought of as the "cognitive supply chain". It consists of platforms that collect data and provide algorithms to facilitate order fulfillment and logistics with real-time visibility. Predictive analysis can aggregate the data to discern patterns, and that insight allows for actionable, timely solutions.
Machine learning is the development of intuitive computer systems that access data, absorb it, and improve processes without being explicitly programmed. API, or application program interface, is a way to programmatically interact with an external software component or resource, allowing you to tap into functionality developed elsewhere over the web. EDI, electronic data interchange, is the computer-to-computer exchange of business documents: purchase orders, invoices, ship notices, bill of lading, and inventory documents.
Jarrett’s proprietary AI platform provides accurate truckload and expedited rates, processes information, and uses an algorithm to adjust vehicle capacity based on load-to-truck ratio, seasonality, mode of transportation, lead time, and type of industry. As the data is accessed, machine learning takes over and provides accurate rates.
When 5G is widely available, it will have a tremendous impact on the supply chain. Faster transmission of data will accelerate automation in transportation, reduce costs, and increase visibility in warehousing and transportation.
All these technological advances make processes more fluid, enabling seamless transactions. But we’re humans, not robots. The challenge that companies face is maintaining a close relationship with their clients. There must be a balance between the technology that enables efficiency and analytics, and the need to keep in contact with your customers. A “high touch” approach is advised so that both parties preserve the communication and transparency that initiated the relationship. Embrace automation, AI, and machine learning, but build on a foundation of personalized customer service, so the technology works to complement the relationship. The instant human connection, when paired with leading technology, is the best resource for our clients.
At Jarrett, people are at the heart of everything we do: our clients, support staff, logistics experts, and vendors. We can’t lose sight of the very real person who initiates an order and awaits delivery. A person like any other, who sometimes need to talk with another human on the other end of the line. A connection is made. Connecting through technology is one thing; but human connection is THE thing.