Ways to think about the Supply Chain of the Future: Artificial Intelligence

Ways to think about the Supply Chain of the Future: Artificial Intelligence

The fact that supply chains and logistics companies already have a vast amount of data and processes that could be turned into actionable insights rather quickly, just means that there is potential for AI to take supply chains on a journey from very good to perfect.

Artificial intelligence techniques allow for vast amounts of data to be analyzed, categorized, and then turned into actionable insights with reduced or no human input. As an example,

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Connecting the Dots on Amazon's patents in Logistics

Connecting the Dots on Amazon's patents in Logistics

I've dug into Amazon's patent filings over the last five years and mined the patent titles for keywords related to inventory and logistics. Patents range from the mundane like optimization of packaging sizes or allocating regional inventory to reduce out-of-stock costs to the more technologically advanced like autonomous vehicles, mobile ground-based fulfillment centers, and drones. At the far end of the spectrum are topics that appear to be more the realm of sci-fi fantasy like underwater warehouses, airborne warehouses, and beehive-like warehouses, but hey, who knows.

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The Amazonification of Logistics

The Amazonification of Logistics

The evolution of eCommerce has had a dramatic impact on both retail and logistics. Much of the changes have been spearheaded by Amazon who are largely responsible for shaping customer behavior and driving customer expectations around delivery. Many customers now want their packages next-day, same-day, or even within one hour and as a result logistics networks have evolved to reflect these changing customer preferences. Amazon has had such a major impact on eCommerce...

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What's that Giant Sucking Sound? Amazon and Retail Revenue

At its current growth rate, Amazon could double in size in the next three years. Or, to be more blunt, Amazon could suck the same amount of value out of the U.S. retail market in three years as it has in the previous twenty. Let that sink in. Even though the size of eCommerce is relatively small - just under 10% of total retail, Amazon is building an almost unassailable moat around online retail.

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Amazon’s Moat Widens: The Dominance of Amazon in one Chart

Amazon’s Moat Widens: The Dominance of Amazon in one Chart

Everyone knows that Amazon dominates the U.S. eCommerce retail market, but exactly how well are they doing? According to data from Slice Intelligence, which scanned more than 1 million digital shopping receipts, Amazon accounted for 46 percent of all online spending in the U.S. in the final weeks leading up to Christmas. Overall, Amazon took 39% of all online spending from Thanksgiving to Christmas.

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Amazon's Growing Robot Workforce is 45,000 Strong

Amazon's Growing Robot Workforce is 45,000 Strong

According to a recent report in the Seattle Times, in 2016 Amazon significantly expanded the deployment of Kiva Robots in their fulfillment centers. Amazon acquired Kiva Systems in 2012 and the robots automate the picking and packing process. According to the report, Amazon has 45,000 robots deployed across 20 fulfillment centers which represents a 50% increase over the previous year and a 200% increase since 2014. Since 2014 the human workforce has increased by roughly 100%.

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Surging Package Volume Explains Why Drones Make Sense

Surging Package Volume Explains Why Drones Make Sense

The continued rise of eCommerce coupled with the growth of urban populations has put increased strain on last mile delivery in cities. Added to this, is the fact that a growing number of people in large cities expect to get their orders quickly - next day, same-day, or within an hour or two. And, by the way, delivery should be cheap too!

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Logistics Technology Trends That Will Dominate 2017

Logistics Technology Trends That Will Dominate 2017

Making predictions in technology, even just one year out, are generally an exercise in futility, so this really isn't a forecast for 2017, but more a list of trends that I am interested in and keeping my eye on. Technology is rarely released according to plan and surprises can come from many directions. However, it makes sense to keep tabs on what’s coming and it's also great fun to think about what’s coming next. Here's what I will be looking out for in 2017:

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Amazon Patent Reveals Flying Warehouses that Send Delivery Drones to You

Amazon Patent Reveals Flying Warehouses that Send Delivery Drones to You

Amazon has recently made waves in the industry with a series of moves that illustrate that it is serious about getting into the logistics business. Amazon leased 20 cargo planes to deliver goods to and from fulfillment centers, registered as an ocean freight forwarder in China, and built an ‘Uber for Trucking’ app to match truck drivers with shippers. But what if all of these moves are indeed just short-term plays to add capacity to their operation and supplement, instead of replace partners like UPS and Fedex? Maybe Amazon just needs excess capacity until a fully unmanned and aerial warehousing and delivery network becomes a reality. And while that last sentence sounds awfully fantastical...

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The 2016 Techgistics Year in Review

The 2016 Techgistics Year in Review

2016 was an incredible year for tech in logistics as companies both large and small are working on some transformational technologies not just for logistics, but for society as a whole. Here’s a few interesting tech advancements in 2016 that were important for the year, but could also point to what’s to come in the near and long-term future.

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Who will Own Same Day Delivery: The Case for Uber

Who will Own Same Day Delivery: The Case for Uber

In the previous post I highlighted a handful of the emerging on-demand same day delivery startups and the complexities inherent in building a 3-sided marketplace. In addition to these startups, I wanted to do a deeper dive on two non-traditional logistics companies that are approaching same-day delivery from different angles and could be well-positioned to be market disruptors for same-day delivery. They are of course Uber and Amazon; Uber has a first mover advantage via their existing ride-sharing platform. a deep and re-purposable delivery fleet with optimised routing algorithms combined with the ability to raise enormous capital. And then you have Amazon...

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Amazon Go and the Jobless Future in Retail

Amazon Go and the Jobless Future in Retail

Amazon is testing a retail store without check-outs; instead, you simply tap your phone when you enter and 'machine learning and computer vision' track what you pick up and let you just walk out. In order to do this, Amazon is launching an app called Amazon Go which customers will use to register when they're in the store and the app will track the products picked up as they move about the store.

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The“Uber-for-X” Model and the Complexity of On-Demand Delivery

The“Uber-for-X” Model and the Complexity of On-Demand Delivery

Uber’s success in disrupting transportation has led to enormous VC funding of “Uber-for-X” businesses where smartphones are used to connect customers with nearby workers on demand. A number of startups have entered the same-day / same-hour delivery market with the intent of fundamentally transforming how we shop and eat.

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Ways to think about Last Mile Delivery

Ways to think about Last Mile Delivery

Last mile delivery is going to change significantly over the next few decades. A sea-change is upon the Logistics industry and as is often the case when an industry is about to be turned upside-down, there are a number of converging factors, both societal and technological, that are accelerating the pace of change.

 

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