Fujitsu and Toyota Systems said they'd successfully demonstrated supply chain and logistics network optimisation "essential to support automobile production" in a joint trial using the former's 'Quantum-Inspired Digital Annealer' software.

The digital annealer solves complex "combinatorial optimisation" problems at speeds said to be impossible with current conventional computing technology and was used to rapidly calculate variables including the number of transport trucks, total mileage, and package sorting tasks, determining the most cost effective approach for automotive parts supply chain optimisation with 3m possible delivery routes to dozens of factories.

Ultimately, the trial revealed it was possible to, within 30 minutes, calculate an optimal route which can potentially reduce logistics costs by approximately 2% to 5% by uncovering effective, previously unidentified distribution routes, improving loading efficiency and streamlining transport expenses.

The two companies will further verify and develop the software and plan to commercialise it for global supply chain and logistics operations.

"While logistics has become an increasingly vital part of the infrastructure supporting society, factors including driver shortages, traffic congestion, and increased CO2 emissions present an urgent and persistent challenge to businesses in the logistics and supply chain industry," the partners said in a statement.

"The management of manufacturing supply chains represents one area for possible improvements in efficiency and cost reductions, which may also contribute to solving more fundamental logistics and environmental issues. Nevertheless, conventional technologies remain ill-suited to solving these problems due to their scale and complexity, requiring enormous amounts of time for parameter-adjustments and calculations."

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