Artificial Intelligence (AI) has increasingly developed a presence in our everyday lives in the past few years. Whether you’re viewing suggested items on Amazon or recommended shows on Netflix, you’re interacting with AI in one form or another. Moreover, AI is not just a tool for major enterprises, it has become a widely applied tool across nearly every vertical from SMB’s to Fortune 500 companies.
Here are a few ways distributors in particular are leveraging AI to save money and resources while advancing sales and their bottom line:
Distributors and third party logistics (3PL’s) use massive amounts of customer data that AI programs can read and find patterns in to aid in purchasing by customers. These analyses coupled with predictive analytics create a customer profile to recommend not only what to purchase, but when to purchase it. For all distributors, big and small, large amounts of customer purchase data are available to be manipulated and analyzed. Realistically, not every distribution company is going to have a widely used web interface like Amazon, so these predictive trends can be given to sales teams in order to target the right customers at the right time.
Distribution Hub Inventory
Within distribution networks, inventory is shipped directly to distribution hubs. How do companies estimate the right volume of items to ship to hubs at certain times of the year? With AI, inventory and demand schedules can be proactively predicted to make sure that resources are allocated efficiently to the right hubs. This enables operations personnel to ensure their supply chain is running at maximum efficiency. For growing SMBs, having access to this information can be vital to the success of customer growth and retention.
Predictive Analytics for Supplier Selection and Relationship Management
Unfortunately, simply selecting the wrong supplier can be damaging to your business. PR issues stemming from lapses in available supplies among other things can arise and cause operational and reputation problems for your organization. AI suppliers are being selected through available supplier interaction data in order to be sure they are statistically the best fit. This may sound like more of a big business practice, but on the contrary, this is critical for SMB’s to pay attention to because having a supplier PR issue could be potentially detrimental to a growing band.
It is important to realize that these tools of technology are not the future, they are impacting our lives more than we know already. With any growing business, AI and machine learning can be the difference between managing growth at a steady rate or performing at the next level and achieving optimized growth across the business.