One of the most sort after technological innovations which has transformed today’s business operations is the Internet of Things. IoT has been successful in convincing us that it can give far-reaching payoffs, particularly for the logistics industry. It was first the FedEx who were the primary introducers of the IoT with their parcel tracking facility which revolutionized the delivery business years ago and which can be considered as the initiator of the IoT services.
According to the latest research it is estimated that over 200 billion devices which will be connected or be available to be IoT enabled by the year 2020. This is a huge network of various devices and communication platforms all integrated onto one single spectrum of operations and this going to have a huge radical impact on the supply chain industry.
The benefits of IoT is not limited to one single sector of the logistics but can be valuable extended to many areas which form a part of the total service of the logistics industry. The important sectors which added to the entire value chain of logistics being warehousing operations, freight transportation and also last mile delivery.
The impact of IoT can be seen in various areas as efficiently, safety and security and most importantly customer experiences being the foremost. There are various advantages that can help logistics operations evolve to a more service rich and customer satisfaction oriented deliverables with the perfect use of IoT.
IoT can tackle way difficult operations into new means and methods which can be quite exciting and enhance the quality of the logistics services provided to the end customers. Application of IoT can have significant impacts on logistics operations as we cannot monitor the status of assets, parcels, and people in real time throughout the value chain.
We also have ample tools to measure these assets and its performances and how well the operations can be fine-tuned to increase value to customers. A lot many business operations can be automated so as to decrease human interventions thereby lowering errors and improving quality and predictability as well as lowering the costs.
IoT in the logistics industry is about two specific elements. The foremost being the monitoring of different assets which are existent in the supply chain process with the help of various technologies and secondly the handling of the vast amount of data which is the result of the IoT and most importantly to use this data for better insights that can drive in more new viable solutions.
Some of the areas in logistics that can be enhanced are as follows:
- WAREHOUSE MANAGEMENT: Internet of Things can hugely have an impact on the warehouse management of a logistics company and can immensely contribute to their warehouse management services provided. The operations in the distribution centers, warehouse and yards can be enabled with some of the latest technological integrations as RFID and GPS that will enable in a better placing of goods and visibility of the same for both inbound and outbound operations.
- TRANSIT VISIBILITY: It is of utmost importance to be able to track your cargo or goods movement both from the logistics companies perspective as well as from the customer’s point of view. Technologies have enabled us with the ability to be able to track our movements with improvements in mobile technology and network coverages. As even today we huge rely on barcodes to be scanned by human beings at many entry and exit points of the supply chain. With IoT and enhanced technologies of RFID’s, GPS and with more connected networks among various laterals of business operations human interventions have started to become lesser with chances of errors and need of correction to the minimum.
- FLEET MANAGEMENT: Fleet management is yet another area which will see a positive sea impact of the Internet of Things. The entire operations of fleet management will get transformed from that of a reactive mode to a more proactive mode. The right integrations of technology into the day to day movement structure will give chance to act and make correct changes based on real-time information and predictive analysis thereby in a way enabling predictive proactive measures. The customers can be informed of such changes well in advance about their cargo movement and the changes done with reasons behind the delay in shipments. Hence alterations are not done after an event has occurred but even before untowardly events can occur by predicting the same well in advance. This is because IoT will the logistics companies crucial and real-time access to data and better visibility to its customers.
CONCLUSION: It is not that hard to say that this is the right time to leverage IoT in logistics as many in the industry have started adopting it and reaping the valuable gains of it. Today we are in a much better scenario with communication infrastructures and economic conditions to make optimal use of the Internet of Things in the industry. There is a very clear technology push through the rise of mobile computing and consumerization of Information Technology and with 5G network as well as big data analytics customers are increasingly demanding IoT based solutions. Hence it is the right time for logistics providers to enable themselves with better technological deployments and integrations and therein adopt IoT at an accelerating rate.