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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Conradie.

Supply Chain Discussion: The Rapid Evolution of AI in the Warehouse

In this discussion, Robert Bowman from Supplychainbrain talks to Gina Chung, vice president of corporate development with Locus Robotics. They are a warehouse automation robotics and technology company. Here she traces the progress of artificial intelligence in the warehouse, and the ever-broadening scope of functions that it's driving today.

There are multiple areas and applications where AI is driving value for warehouse operators today, Chung says. In addition to controlling physical assets such as robots and forklifts, AI is helping to improve network and facility optimization, enabling better efficiency and performance throughout supply chain operations.

The technology is advancing quickly, but at different rates depending on the specific application. The basic algorithms have been in place for a decade, but are now becoming more widespread. When it comes to powering physical assets, however, AI is in the earlier stages of adoption, Chung says. The technology “is so much broader than just one robot application,” she adds.

Generative AI is playing an increasingly important role, but also remains in the early stage of acceptance, Chung says. Time will tell how GenAI will feed the world of robotics, although she’s already seen some proofs of concept using GenAI to produce valuable insights from the reporting that occurs in the course of everyday operations.

There are challenges to be overcome when implementing AI in the warehouse. “The worst day for AI is the first day,” Chung says, noting that time is needed for the system to learn the setup and SKUs of any particular facility. It calls for initial patience on the part of AI adopters, along with change management to ensure that the people in the warehouse know how to interact with the new technology. Equipment for moving heavy items, in particular, must be carefully tested before being introduced to an environment with people.

Change management, Chung says, is “a joint responsibility between the vendor and customer." It’s essential to have a good training program in place “to make sure that people are working in harmony.”

Source: Supplychainbrain

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