One of the crucial aspects of a shipping company is the ability to track everything and with the help of the Internet of Things technology. Increased efficiency, scope for new revenue- generating ideas as well as cost- effectiveness is some of the key benefits of Internet of Things in the logistics industry.
With more and more industries looking forward to inculcating data- driven technology in their working processes and structures, the transport and logistics industry seems to be a step ahead of its counterparts. As it is known with all the Transport and Logistics (T&L) companies, they largely provide their services through rail, road, air and sea and they also have well- connected distributed networks on which they can rely for the rapid transmission of information from one point of service to another. As a result of collaboration with the Internet of Things technology, these logistic companies can notice the effects of new connectivity peripherals as well as sensors, hence working towards bringing to life a world where transit is quick, simple and safe during all times.
Taking a closer look at how the Internet of Things technology is going to benefit the logistics companies, it is needless to say that it will diversify the transit options, assist in aviation freight as well as the secure and timely delivery of packages. Not only this, the real- time tracking of parcels, optimization of the warehouse capacities, route optimization, last- mile delivery and many more lucrative features like these are surely a great boon for the logistics management industry.
How Internet of Things will benefit Logistics Management?
Timely tracking of vehicles
There is a comprehensive fleet of trucks and similar commercial vehicles which the logistics companies have to deal with from time to time. Depending on the destination and the kind of shipment, there may be the need for the parcel to undergo road, ship, flight, etc. kinds of transport. This is exactly where IoT will come into action!! With the use of tracking devices and advanced GPS sensors, the movement of the shipment can be tracked by the logistics management department during each and every point of the transit. They can keep track of the vehicles to see if it is adhering to the suggested path and so on.
With the use of Internet of Things in Logistics, the companies managing the transport and transit department can save huge bucks on their overall expenditure. For instance, the congested routes can be avoided with the help of tracking GPS devices and sensors. This will help them in saving on the fuel costs and also reduce the cost incurred due to damage caused to the food items due to delayed delivery. Thus, delay elimination and reduction in the damage caused to the quality of cargo is yet another benefit of implementing the Internet of Things technology in logistics management.
Reduction in delivery hassles
IoT will make it possible for customer verification to be done through digital IDs instead of opting for the traditional methods of proving an individual’s identity. With the help of new and improved digital equipment, it will be easier for the customers to make payments as well.
Quick monitoring of inventory
Logistics companies will no longer have to rely on human observation as well as manpower for keeping track of their inventories. With the help of IoT technology, stocks can be tracked and refilled regularly without the need for 24×7 human observation.
How Can IoT Contribute to Supply Chains and Logistics?
In the complex operation of producing, transporting, warehousing and distributing goods without losing track of them, IoT components like RFID, GPS, temperature sensors, etc. could bring the industry its own “industrial revolution”.
It can do so by enabling businesses to monitor the status of goods in real-time across the supply chain, increasing the speed at which information is gathered and analyzed.
Benefits include: increases in operational efficiency, better and faster decision making, and automation of certain business processes.
By tapping the data gathered by these technologies, detailed visibility of an item is provided all the way from the manufacturer to the retailer.
IoT can manage stock in a warehouse and distribution centers with automatic inventory flow and control mechanism to reduce out-of-stock situations. IoT is also being used in identifying wastes and implementing waste reduction techniques.
Key to in-transit visibility is cloud-based GPS and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies, which provide identity, location, and other tracking information. Fleet management solutions are utilizing the technologies to save fuel costs, optimize fleet routes by monitoring traffic conditions. Data gathered from GPS and RFID technologies not only allows automation of shipping and delivery by exactly predicting the time of arrival.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, about one third of food perishes in transit every year. The cold chain industry is also getting the benefits of IoT to ensure temperature stability which impact the quality of a product in-transit. Embedded sensors in products provide visibility into customer behavior and product usage.
IoT’s Impact on Transportation
Fleet optimization, safety, and cargo security are at the heart of a profitable and sustainable trucking operation. Trucks equipped with telematics and sensors can measure load capacity and help identify historical spare capacity on certain routes along with providing recommendations to decrease deadhead miles.
From a safety and security perspective, sensors are also able to track and detect damage, hazardous driving patterns, frequency of hard braking, average speed, non-stop traveled distances, and driver fatigue – just to mention a few. Once these events are recorded, the system is able to alert decision makers and drivers if and when necessary.
IoT’s Impact on Warehousing
With the drop in cost and the standardization of RFID labels and RFID antennas (an IoT component), companies can have accurate and real-time inventory. During receiving, storing, and shipping operations – warehouses can use this sensing technology to know what is coming in and going out, what is in the warehouse and where.
For sensitive cargo – like electronics or food and beverages, that require careful handling, temperature and humidity control sensors can alert when mishandling occurs or when temperature and humidity falls outside the required parameters.
The power of the IoT relies on the ability to interconnect “things” and collect accurate data in real time. Connecting each object (and/or device) to a central system allows businesses to gain a new level of visibility and understand their operations like never before.
IoT’s Impact on the Supply Chain as a Whole
Unlike other logistics technology trends (drones, driverless vehicles, autonomous vessels, etc.), the ecosystem required for IoT to take off is ready. Important factors such as improved battery life, consumerization of sensor technologies, the move towards 5G wireless communications, big data analytics, and the decline of technology costs, have created the ideal conditions for this technology to thrive.
A research survey by Forrester shows that nearly 65% of surveyed firms have deployed or are in the process of implementing IoT solutions.
Supply Chain and Logistics is one of the industries that will benefit the most from this technology. 71% of transportation survey responders said that they plan to implement an Internet-of-Things solution in the next 12 months or are in the process of implementing it.
This same research shows that some of the most important challenges that these organizations plan to address with IoT include: fleet management, security and surveillance, proactive alerts, and supply chain visibility.
For many years transportation, warehousing, distribution centers, and retailers desired to have visibility of goods as they move through the supply chain. With IoT, not only will companies gain the desired visibility, but also the ability to detect business inefficiencies, protect goods and reduce accidents.
Supply Chain Solutions leveraging IoT Technologies
End users are interested in using IoT technologies to manage accurate and transparent shipment tracking;
Business users and supply chain partners are interested in integrity control for sensitive and valuable goods;
Logistics companies need transparency over distribution networks, network utilization and tracking assets being used for optimization of efficiency;
IoT need to be used to create a highly transparent and integrated controller which will help to identify the right product, at right time, at right place, in right quantity and condition and with right cost.