IoT in transportation and logistics: Does this sound weird?
Even if it does, the time to retrospect has long gone. True that we live in a consumer-first, technology-driven era. Today, people are more fascinated by the quick delivery of a product than the product itself. In fact, delayed or obstructed delivery is a crucial factor that affects the success or failure of a business.
Talking about transportation and logistics, it is one industry that operates on a man to man basis. What this means is when a product is in transit, it has to travel miles before reaching the final destination. And while in motion, it is passed from one human to another until it is delivered to the original buyer.
When such a system works, missteps are hard to be avoided. Irrespective of how strong-armed your network is or how solid the entire process is, there still lies a possibility of a crate being delayed or an asset being misplaced.
Organizations that operate on the traditional supply chain model remain unaware of the delivery gaps until the item has been delivered. All of this sums up to falling productivity with poor customer experience.
What’s needed here is a robust system that can track the location of assets in real-time, predict optimal routes, and speed up the entire process. In short, we are talking about IoT in transportation and logistics. Even though some organizations have embedded IoT solutions within their line of operations, a large mass is still skeptical about the same.
Keeping this as the crux, we here shed light on different ways in which IoT improves the everyday operation of the transportation and logistics sector, boosting productivity.
Top Ways IoT Impacts Transportation and Logistics Industry
- Real-time Asset Tracking
The first and the most intriguing application of IoT in transportation is the ability to track assets in real-time. Configuring the solution is pretty easy as the only thing needed to do is mount an IoT sensor on top of the container or maybe the truck carrying the product. This sensor has the capability to track information in real-time or the location of the vehicle, to be precise.
The data is then transmitted to an application that can be accessed by the logistics manager. He/She can simply open the application, get hold of the information, and based on the same, make decisions in real-time.
Real-time asset tracking is extremely helpful in the transportation industry enabling managers to assist the drivers and reroute the vehicle to avoid congestions. This ensures on-time delivery of goods, winning customer’s trust.
- Streamlining Operations & Increasing Visibility
Real-time tracking is one way managers can reroute the vehicle to avoid traffic. However, that’s not the only way it affects the logistics industry.
Consider a company that manufactures smartphones. Now the components that are part of the smartphone to be designed are shipped from different parts of the world. Say the sensors are from region A whereas the other components are from region B and the manufacturing is done in region C.
In order to complete the process, components from regions A and B must arrive at C and on time. It so happens that a vehicle goes missing. Now the manager here is answerable to the head but all he has are fictitious stories. The concerned team from region A confirms that they shipped all but that’s not what has arrived.
Now, this is where smart management created a difference. Equipping smart devices or mounting them to the vehicle helps track their location. Put simply, the IoT sensors gives the ease to track the location of all the vehicles in real-time.
And this can be done anytime and from anywhere across the globe. With smart logistics, the manager would now have hard facts to show and claim that a vehicle was misrouted and hence, not arrived at the destination. This adds transparency and also increases supply chain visibility.
- Enhancing Productivity
The best way to improve the productivity of any business operation is by reducing the downtime or the time to market. Similar is the case with fleet management in the transportation and logistics industry. Stashing down the fleet time will help improve the effectiveness of the entire operation.
RFID tags, handheld scanners, and IoT sensors, all work together to speed up the delivery process. Also, these generate tons of data in real-time which is then studied and analyzed to make decisions that are factually correct. Not to forget the extent of connectivity created by the devices that facilitates better and faster operation.
The manager sitting miles away from the driver can know the exact location of the vehicle and even get alerts if something goes wrong. Such a level of interconnectedness can be made possible only through the adoption of IoT and corresponding applications within the supply chain industry.
To sum up, developments in IoT enables business industries to have total control over their fleet operations. From real-time tracking, predicting the optimal route, IoT helps cuts down the time taken in transportation while improving the efficiency and productivity of the shipment cycle.
But wait, this is just the start and the industry has a lot more to witness than what it does today. Drone delivery is the most talked about topic and is expected to hit the industry by 2030. IoT is a promising technology and the influence it has on the logistics sector is huge. What’s best is to embrace the same, adapt and grow altogether.