Move Over 3PLs and 4PLs, the AI-PL Is Here

It was only a question of time, really.

Last Friday, AILO, a startup logistics service provider billing itself as “the industry’s first AI-PL,” came out of stealth mode. The company, which has received over $200 million in funding from investors including Google, Amazon, and Andreessen Horowitz (among others), promises to usher in “a new era of logistics excellence by leveraging Artificial Intelligence and automation to overcome the limitations of yesterday’s technologies and processes.”

Marc Elliott, cofounder and CEO of AILO, says in the press release:

“The logistics industry is at an inflection point, as manufacturers and retailers move away from viewing logistics as a cost center to viewing it as a strategic weapon. At the same time, the industry faces a growing list of challenges: labor shortages and strikes, price and capacity volatility in transportation, new sustainability regulations, cyberattacks, and more demanding cost and service expectations from customers. Traditional logistics service providers, constrained by outdated technologies and business models, were built for the past not the future. That is why we are redefining what it means to be a logistics service provider, one built from the ground up with AI-powered technologies and business processes. Welcome to the AI-PL era.”

To be honest, I’m glad we’re moving away from the numbers-based classification system. I thought 5PL was the highest level we had reached, but I came across this post which outlines service providers all the way up to 7PL

As I said, it was only a question of time before logistics service providers, following the lead of software vendors, would start putting the “AI” label on all their offerings. AI-Transportation Management? AI-Warehouse Management? Why not! If Oral-B can market a toothbrush with “AI intelligence,” why not market AI-powered logistics services?

Especially on April Fools’ Day.