But the emergence of lower cost, connected, location aware devices and the growing Internet of Things has allowed logistics companies to enhance their existing processes, by dynamically tracking both vehicles and the packages they carry. IoT technology provides numerous connected devices, embedded sensors, and analytical technologies that assist companies in the logistics sector to get an unprecedented visibility into almost every aspect of their business, from operations to finance. This enables them to generate new sources of value creation.
1. Enhanced In-Transit Visibility
Today we can track a parcel in every step of its journey. We can see its status from the moment it’s shipped to the moment when it’s finally delivered into the hands of the customer. With IoT, a RFID tag is placed on the parcel or vehicle which acts as the ‘reader’, the delivery vehicle or package gets connected with the cloud and transmits the RFID-derived information and its location. This eliminates the need for humans to do anything other than loading the vehicle.
2. Managed Warehouse and Yard
Warehouses and distribution centers are a critical part of supply chain companies. Its efficiency creates a direct impact on the cost of doing business and the ability to compete. With parcels and pallets getting RFID-tagged, they are able to communicate with infrastructure and warehouses. This allows the warehouse to track the inventory, vehicles, and equipment through cloud platforms. By translating a physical location into digital data, organizations are now able to automate asset and location tracking. Moreover, it takes humans out of this physical space which reduces workplace health and safety risks.
Also, yard personnel can be seen frequently moving around on foot or in vehicles, manually conducting their routine tasks. This process takes time and is prone to errors. Using RFID systems, we can address this issue as it solves visibility-related issues including redundant trailer moves, yard gate congestion and product shrinkage.
3. Improved Fleet Management
To make the supply chain more proactive, we can combine data derived from GPS and RFID with other sensor data nodes on IoT network. Take an example of a truck that is informed of delay before the vehicle gets caught in a traffic jam, caused by bad weather or an accident.
In addition, supply chain operators can also monitor and assess vehicle and driver performance. Metrics such as a gearbox or an engine running hot indicates a forthcoming failure. Thus, by scheduling maintenance proactively, companies can reduce the number of breakdowns.
By implementing IoT systems, organizations are able to identify inefficiencies in real-time, hence enabling them to constantly improve the effectiveness of their operations.