Lucas Systems recently undertook a study about the burgeoning potential of artificial intelligence (AI) in the distribution center and warehouse management space. While 91% of respondents want to use advanced technologies such as AI and machine learning to drive warehouse and DC performance improvements, they admit that gaps exist in the knowledge and expertise required to achieve the full potential of AI. In fact, 80% of respondents agree that there is a general lack of understanding of how AI-based software can be put into practice to enhance warehouse/distribution center operations across multiple industries.
To bring some clarity to the subject, we are sharing a series of blog posts on what we have identified as Fast Start Opportunities for AI in the warehouse. But before reviewing the process or work areas, we begin by surfacing three specific foundational recommendations to help frame and choose where to implement an AI solution.
Start with well-understood processes
Initially, it’s not necessary to know the “in the weeds” minutiae of how AI and machine learning actually works. It’s more important to start AI projects where you have a solid understanding of how your current practices work and their performance today. What are some of the high-volume, rules-driven, repeatable processes that are inherent in your business that could benefit from the refinement that an AI solution can bring? Workflow, workforce and travel are three general areas that initially come to mind.
Make sure the results are tangible and matter
While this may seem obvious, not all results are evaluated with equal importance. In many cases, from a pure business, bottom-line perspective, projects that deliver hard labor savings, productivity or accuracy improvements can get more initial buy in than softer benefits such as employee satisfaction. For example, our study found that roughly half of companies rank reducing errors, reducing costs, making better decisions, and improving customer experience among the top benefits they would look for when implementing AI based software.
Start with AI software that is established and well-proven in the marketplace
There are many areas of AI development that are still evolving but also areas where AI has proven to deliver significant gains. Software for tasks such as slotting, or labor-management have AI engines that are well refined and require no AI expertise to use them. Especially for a maiden voyage into the world of AI, choose a use case and a partner that has a high probability of helping you to succeed and can serve as a launch point for continuing AI implementation.
With the foundation established, what are some specific “fast start” opportunities for AI implementation? Over the next several weeks and months, we’ll explore five warehouse processes that can benefit significantly from implementing AI solutions, including dynamic, slotting, workflow optimization, workforce planning, performance management and travel optimization.
To see more of the key findings and recommendations from our study, check out our Achieve Your AI Potential white paper, and stay tuned for the rest of our Fast Start Opportunities for AI blog series.
About Lucas Systems, Inc.
Lucas Systems helps companies transform their distribution center operations and continuously adapt to changing market dynamics. We dramatically increase worker productivity, operational agility, and customer satisfaction.
Our solutions are built on 23-plus years of deep process expertise and smart software using AI and voice technologies. Our solutions feature Jennifer™, the brain, voice, and orchestration engine that drives performance improvement gains. Make the smartest moves at the lowest cost with Jennifer™. For more information, visit www.lucasware.com