IoT- The Sensing Technology that makes Sense for the Logistics and Supply Chain Management

“Internet of Things will generate $1.9 trillion worldwide in value from the supply chain and logistics in the next decade,” according to a research.

It’s a signal of the untapped potential and benefits that can be earned leveraging IoT in the logistics industry. Does the logistics industry really have a need for IoT? The emerging challenges, far-reaching payoffs, and growing operational inefficiencies say YES.

IoT- The Sensing Technology

The need of different industries of higher transparency and integrity control over the products along with supply chain, the end-users needs of having transparency about detailed shipment tracking in real-time, and the logistics companies’ need of having transparency in network and assets for the efficient optimization and better network utilization has greased the squeaky wheels and created a pre-requisite of embracing IoT technology .

IoT is maturing with time and its innovative use cases bringing more visibility into the logistics operations and supply chain.

Let’s discuss the benefits in a broader context:

Production floor gets connected

In the absence of the industrial automation at the manufacturing place, it’s impossible to detect what’s happening in the different corners of the production floor or track the optimum utilization of the resources. With the implementation of IoT solutions, the large production space has become manageable, scalable and secure alongside improved interoperability.

The IoT sensors alert the managers regarding malfunctioning, failure or temperature increase beyond the level of acceptance in the machines that enables preventative maintenance, the status of inventory could be known, energy and resource consumption can be monitored to reduce waste, prevent disaster and enhance environmental sustainability. Altogether, it has a major impact on the manufacturing place productivity and creates positive ripples in the supply chain.

Warehouse management

The warehouse management stays at the heart of logistics business which directly impacts the revenue, and the ability to compete. The IoT-enabled warehouse gives a digital voice to the assets, where the sensors capture the data, transfer and store it in the cloud. The data generated is analyzed by the artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to identify the patterns and correlation between things to make the best recommendations in the real-time.

IoT devices in the warehouse can be used for the plethora of purpose such as ensuring the right products is in the right place at the right time, which reduces the probability of product wastage; verifying whether the temperature and other conditions are maintained to keep the product quality intact; provide complete visbility into the location of the warehouse equipments; manage the inventory and alert the workers when item is in the low; determine the best configuration and layout that maximizes the profit; monitor the conditions which are safe and most productive for the workers; and check the workload is optimized across all the connected equipment.

Fleet and traffic management

The vehicles are the greatest asset whose optimized utilization is of vital importance, which can be achieved through the smart fleet and traffic management.

With IoT-powered fleet management, the logistics business operational efficiency can be improved to a great height because in-vehicle telematics analyzation ensure vehicle’s proper performance, predictive maintenance for vehicles diminish the unfortunate happenings, maintenance, and repair solutions can be planned in advance, traffic tracking and optimization guarantees the delivery according to schedule, and fatigue detection system enhances the driver’s safety. This way the fleet management is not just crucial, while it drives the additional growth in the business.

Consider an example of thesecond busiest port in Europe, Port of Hamburg, which, when had taken the “smartPORT” initiative. The port was modernized with an IoT-based approach where the sensors are embedded at every point that impacts the harbor operations such as rail, ship, and road. The advanced information about traffic data help in managing traffic disruptions and lessened the impact of traffic on the timely delivery.

Ensure safety and security

Confirming the health status of equipment and employees is an important aspect of the logistics business as machines and people are liable to bring productivity to the business. IoT applications make certain that the personnel and equipment engaged from the production floor to the supply chain, must stay safe and secure.

Here, DPM- a Canadian gold mining company is one of the best instances that values its employees and equipment. With IoT app development, the hundreds of personnel working underground are safe because the sensors provide minute details about the mine safety conditions in the real-time and precise reports on end-to-end mine operations. In addition, the location-tracking application is integrated at the mine’s blasting site to make certain there is no personnel or equipment on the blasting site during the blast. The handy information has enhanced miners’ safety and the production, which has uplifted from half a million ton to the two million tons every year.

Caterpillar- the world’s largest construction and mining equipment manufacturing company is another instance, which has embedded the vehicles with an infrared camera that can track the eye blink frequency of the drivers even in the dark to monitor driver fatigue, and if the sensor senses the driver is feeling sleepy and losing the concentration on the roads, the audio alarms and seat vibrations get activated. This way long-distance truck drivers can be protected from unforeseen consequences.

Wrapping it up

The convergence of IoT technology and logistics promises significant impact on the complete value chain with the increased visibility about the status of assets, products, and people in the real-time. It enables the system, assets, and people work together and coordinate without manual interventions, which improve the predictability, augment throughput and reduce the cost. Besides, when the business process automation is combined with analytics, the improvement opportunities can be identified that drive new solution and take off the logistics industry at an accelerating rate.

Do you want to connect production floor, make the warehouse management intelligent, bring smartness in the fleet and traffic management, or secure the equipment and employee with IoT? If so, the sensing technology is certainly your piece of cake. Don’t wait, embrace it.