In the last decade, the world has seen the birth and development of several innovations and technologies — from innovations on the internet, the World Wide Web to mobile technologies, and today the IoT (internet of things).
Although the Internet of Things is a popular technology in domestic settings such as personal digital doctors, smart speakers, and smart home appliances, it is increasingly becoming popular in other commercial industries such as security, real estate, healthcare, and agriculture, and it appears to have an even brighter future in the development of logistics application.
Recent joint research, carried out by GT Nexus and Campegini and published on Business Insider, showed that about 70% of retail logistics businesses have already launched the application of modern innovation to improve quality decision making and boost performance to achieve maximum returns. As other technologies such as — Artificial Intelligence, GPS positioning, Blockchains, Machine Learning etc. begin to evolve, it is anticipated that more IoT application development will transform the logistics and supply chain.
What is IoT and Why It Matters
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a vast network of natural and man-made physical objects (plants, computer devices, humans, animals, digital and mechanical machines among others) which are connected through the use of application programming interfaces (APIs) and sensors to transmit data over the internet.
The development of IoT applications hinges on other technologies including RFID, Big Data management, cloud computing, AI, and predictive analytics. In other words, it can be described as the bridge between information and operational technology, since it aids analysis of unstructured data obtained from the real world for useful insights that will impact decision making to boost performance and efficiency.
The Benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT) to Logistics and Supply Chain Sector
While many individuals believe that they stand the risk of losing their jobs because of IoT; this is however untrue. Even though the technology is bound to decrease the manpower needed to execute certain tasks, it must however be seen as a solution that guarantees the adequate flow of operations and can alleviate underutilization of resources, consequently maximizing profits. This modern phenomenon will assist the 21st-century logistics organization in:
- Optimizing asset utilization.
- Minimizing security issues such as theft cases and counterfeiting.
- Enabling accurate monitoring of workflow and resources.
- Accurate real-time visibility and response to contingencies.
- Analyzing real-world data to obtain insights that guide decision-making.
- Eliminating manual data handling in order to boost accuracy and minimize wastage of time.
- Identifying new opportunities through the study of buying patterns and behavior.
- Improving the overall customer experience.
How Does IoT Fit Within The Entire Logistics Industry?
According to a recent report carried out by Cisco, the deployment of IoT applications in logistics and supply chains has increased by times 3 in the last couple of years, and the growth is expected to continue in the nearest future. The report reveals that an estimate of about $2 trillion has been generated from the deployment of IoT solutions in the logistics eco-system. There are 2 key factors that are driving businesses to embrace modern technology:
The Internet of Things is made possible, because of the availability of recent innovations including compact and extremely efficient hardware, improved communication networks, analytics capability for huge data volumes and so much more. As a result of this, it is not only simple but also affordable to design and deploy custom IoT solutions to improve business productivity.
The Demands of Consumer Demands
The experience and satisfaction of customers is a major concern for any modern enterprise. Contemporary logistics consumers seek trust, reliability, and transparency when making purchases. This means industry players have to provide the services and tools that will build and retain the confidence of their customers. The Internet of Things enables businesses to create effective shipment tracking, integrity control and boost efficiency that satisfies the needs of their customers.
IoT can be implemented in diverse ways, according to the nature and overall goals of your business.
Below, we have identified some of the key IoT applications in logistics that can be leveraged to advance your business to an entirely new level:
- Asset Tracking: The ability to track products all through the supply chain will boost security and improve product quality. Making use of newly developed GPS vehicle tracking and RFID sensors will enable you to gather necessary data concerning the status, temperature, assets location, and other kinds of data concerning the specific items. With this, the supply chain managers can ensure timely deliveries, carry out higher quality controls, reduce theft and obtain a general view of the supply chain operation to achieve incredible decision making.
- Fleet Management: Newly developed telematics applications, as well as GPS positioning sensors, can be utilized in the accumulation of real-time data for tracking and analyzing the performance of vehicles, the driver conduct, as well as in monitoring the load and vehicles. The transportation manager can, from a mobile application, identify where a particular location, direction, and speed is to keep drivers from bad conduct and unauthorized activities on and off the road. IoT also allows the manager to have clear visibility of the load on transit, thereby preventing tampering and increasing safety.With IoT data, you can optimize the scheduling and rescheduling of routes, manage fuel consumption and minimize emission to boost the green operations scores of your company. Other applications include fault detection to fix maintenance appointments, increase safety on the road, and guarantee legal compliance.
- Vehicle Monitoring: Monitoring the status of key components of vehicles such as the tire pressure and coolant level can help reduce the risk of unprecedented failures. Maintenance becomes much easier and more effective when you have real-time access to such vital data.Additionally that, IoT can be used in logistics by installing devices and sensors that are responsible for maintaining the proper humidity and temperature conditions within the vehicle. This is very important during the transportation of medicines and food products. Many devices are capable of controlling and correcting the situation when it’s not up to par with the standards.
- Inventory Management and Forecasting: IoT sensors have the ability to monitor inventory and supply data that will be useful in the analysis of trends to forecast future inventory needs. This will make sure there’s no case of over-stocking or under-stocking.
These are just a few examples of how the Internet of Things can be employed to positively disrupt logistics and supply chain operations. The new technology can do so much more to address a lot of challenges faced by consumers, retailers, and freight companies. These opportunities consist of self-driven vehicles, vehicle-to-vehicle communication, vehicle tracking in theft cases, and the safety of workers among a myriad of others. IoT transformation in the logistics industry has already begun, although so much more is still anticipated in the coming years.