Covid-19 wreaks havoc in global supply chain by ramping up AI innovations in last mile logistics

What a challenge COVID-19 has had on our global supply chains, exposing vulnerabilities in production capacity, shipping logistics and in particular last mile clearances. According to a recent report from Technavio, the last mile delivery market will reach $ 14.96 billion from 2021 to 2025, with a CAGR of 15.06%. Also according to level one market research firm Gartner Group, by 2023, 50% of large global companies will have invested in real-time transport visibility solutions.

Last mile delivery is defined as the transport of goods and services from a distribution center to the customer’s final destination, within a reasonable time, at an affordable rate and in pristine condition. Focusing the supply chain on the last mile has significantly become a priority given the global COVID-19 pandemic as organizations have had to refresh / rethink their transportation systems and develop new creative strategies to create intelligence more efficient transport.

At a time of unprecedented challenges, especially over the past two years, companies are accelerating their investments in robotics, expanding business channels, supply chains, and precisely targeted laser products and systems. last mile intelligence.

This blog discusses the impacts COVID-19 has had on our supply chain ecosystems and highlights AI innovations worth considering as 2022 strategic execution plans ramp up.

In my career horizon, I do not recall having experienced fragile supply chains, the impacts of severe labor shortages, the availability of communications and supply chain infrastructure, and the vision of the lean production – all of these forces coming together then as increasingly loosely federated puzzle pieces, often referred to as disintegrated to allow core competencies internally to flourish and to be trusted in supply chains and companies. external specializations to deliver our precious cargo.

Let’s take a break and think about the changing landscape of China for example. In the past, China was seen as an attractive job market that could effectively cost the manual assembly of all parts from around the world. China is no longer dependent on world markets, as much of what it needs is increasingly made in its own country.

Due to the growing challenges of the US-China trade war, many countries have had to source from their respective geographies or neighbors to ensure sufficient supply for local demands.

International Data Corporation (IDC), a leading market research firm, predicted that logistics companies should spend 35% or more of their business process outsourcing services budget on process automation, in the tracking stocks, orders and shipments in 2022, only a few days away.

The response to the COVID-19 crisis has compelled directors, CEOs and their executives to accelerate the improvement of their ERP value chain transformation to help manage growing uncertainty. Here are a few companies worthy of mention for their innovative focus on visibility solutions. Criteria to consider when defining visibility solution needs include:

Company visibility (factory, plant and warehouse) versus multi-company visibility (including business partners),

Asset tracking (truck, trailer and container) versus product tracking,

Shipping tracking (loading) versus product tracking (up to the box and SKU),

Real-time tracking (e.g. updates every 15 minutes) against milestone information (pickup, delivery),

Positioning monitoring versus conditioning monitoring (for example, temperature, humidity, pressure and damage),

Singlemode coverage versus multimodal coverage,

Visibility only in relation to visibility and advanced capabilities (intelligence),

Domestic reach versus international or even global reach

Innovative AI visibility companies pioneering last mile logistics include Bolt, a Canadian company that solves storage, fulfillment and logistics challenges. Other companies featured in the Gartner Group Magic Quadrant for Real-Time Transportation Visibility Platforms include: Blume Global, CH Robinson, Convey, Descartes (MacroPoint), FarEye, FourKites, IntelliTrans, Overhaul, project44, RateLinx, Shippeo, Transporeon (Sixfold), Trimble and Trucker Tools. As you can see from the list above, there are only a few large, well-proven companies in the leader list, Project 44 and FourKits.

More remarkable still, most of these ambitious, visionary or niche players are not old guard companies like IBM, Oracle or SAP. As 2022 unfolds and demand increases, we can count on accelerated M&A transactions and a bright future for these last mile real-time visibility platform innovators who are building insights into the market. AI with every touch or slide.

CEO’s Board of Directors and Directors

As the year draws to a close, those who follow me know that I always incorporate perspectives to advance AI leadership skills. So on this subject here are my recommendations:

1.) Intensify and focus on developing a data visibility strategy on every customer, supplier and employee interaction. Every crumb of bread has a motive, exploit it wisely or you are going bankrupt in the world of digital AI transformation.

2.) Attract qualified talents in digital transformation – and put your people at the forefront to advance collaborative improvements in your supply chain and logistics management operational practices.

3.) Be aware – assess various supply chain scenarios and focus on creativity and investing in new emerging challengers and niche businesses – taking more risks and helping entrepreneurs drive job growth in our economies.

4.) Recognize that AI is a software layer of intense data activation and cultural transformation skills will need to be at the forefront. Adding an AI expert to your board or audit committee is advisable, given the growing ethical and legal risks associated with data and cybersecurity risks.

5.) Educate your directors, CEOs and management teams on the digital culture of AI and ethical data management practices, and extend your learning to your suppliers and customer ecosystems. They all need AI skills and support. Stand out from your competition by sharing more know-how.


1.) To read the full Gartner Group report, click here.

2.) To read one of the most recent articles on Logistics, Transportation and Supply Chain, check out my article on Smarter AI Cameras Providing Powerful Real-Time Vehicle Intelligence.

About Yvonne Lozier

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