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Monday, July 12, 2021

A True Transformation of Logistics?

 Another excellent piece by colleague Irving Wladawsky on work on the future of logistics, with lots of pointers in  the original at the link below.   Retail Analytics for Logistics was my world for many years.   Is the world of AI truly the next revolution?   Reading now.

The Transformation of Logistics in the Retail Industry

In the spring of 2018, MIT launched the Work of the Future Task Force to understand the impact of our increasingly intelligent machines on the future of work, and how to best harness these technological innovations for social benefit. The MIT-wide task force released its findings and recommendations in a November, 2020 report, - Building Better Jobs in an Age of Intelligent Machines. 

In addition to the task force report, the Work of the Future initiative has published a number of working papers and research briefs on related topics. I’d like to now discuss one of those briefs, The Future of Work in Logistics by Arshia Mehta and Frank Levy, which explored the transformation of the retail industry since the advent of e-commerce in the 1990s. The brief is a very interesting case study of the evolution of the retail industry over the past few decades.

“Twenty years ago, U.S. distribution networks were built to deliver products in bulk to retail stores,” wrote the authors. “Today, large parts of distribution networks are built to deliver individual items to home residences. The shift has been driven by technology, working through e-commerce, and recently reinforced by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

e-commerce was one of the earliest applications on the Internet. Amazon and eBay started handling e-commerce transactions in the mid-1990s. Online sales grew slowly at first. In 2001 online shopping comprised 1% of all US retails sales, partly because the vast majority of users accessed the Internet over dial-up phones, and only 4% did so using the much more convenient broadband access. In those early days, online shopping was considered a novel application for leading edge Internet users.   ... ' 

(much more at the link) .... 

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