Machine Learning in Supply Chain

Posted by Expeditors on Oct 24, 2018 1:48:38 PM

Machine Learning

Machine learning has huge potential for us to bring efficiencies to our customer's supply chains. But what is machine learning exactly, and how is it being used today? Let's take a look.

 

In a traditional computer program, inputs are processed according to a set of rules defined by the programmer, resulting in the expected outputs. This works well for a limited data set with well-defined rules, but as data sets grow and more complex rules are added, machine learning technology enables us to achieve results that would be extremely hard to do using traditional programming.  

Specifically, the machine takes a set of inputs and expected outputs and learns on its own how the inputs and outputs are related without ever being given any of the rules. Instead, it figures out the rules itself. When new data is presented to the machine, it can make predictions for the new data, while also continuing to learn and adjust as data relationships evolve over time. There is still programming required, but the programming instructions teach the machine how to learn, not what to learn. With enough data and the right learning algorithms, machine learning can discover insights and patterns that humans could miss, and do it much more efficiently.

Machine learning has the potential to add value to the supply chain in a variety of ways. It can be used to improve customer service activities by more efficiently routing customers to the information they need. Another example is flagging suspicious transactions for further review, such as potential dangerous goods.

Expeditors has already benefited from machine learning by reducing time spent on redundant tasks, thereby improving the responsiveness of our customer service. Our IT experts are currently working on and developing a variety of value-added projects, as well as exploring and experimenting how technology can be used to benefit our customers.

We capture and store a tremendous amount of logistics data, which creates a plethora of opportunities when it comes to machine learning. With this technology, we can improve our ability to automate processes, increase efficiencies and provide insights, allowing us to provide higher value to our customers.

To learn more about how machine learning can add efficiency to your supply chain, reach out to our supply chain experts.

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