How Technology will change the world of Logistics

Posted on 15-02-2016

As a fresh and fairly new company, we pride ourselves on being able to adapt and grow to customer needs. With these values in mind we’ve been exploring how technology is changing the world of logistics. In this latest blog we explore the benefits of technology integration.

Technology_logistics

A statement by Udaya Shankar, the Vice President of the Internet of Things signposts the benefits of integrating technology drivers into Supply Chain Management.

When someone mentions the Internet of Things (IoT), most people think of electronics or wearables – the types of technologies that are driving adoption of a highly personalised “smart” consumer lifestyle. But there’s much more to the IoT story, and more specifically, its impact on the supply chain.

Research firm Gatner says a thirty-fold increase in Internet-connected physical devices by the year 2020 will “significantly alter how the supply chain operates.” Specifically, it notes the impact will relate to how supply chain leaders access information, among other things. Connecting people, processes, data via devices and sensors will enable better analysis of operations resulting in enhanced in transit and warehouse visibility.

Supply chain and logistics

Products are handled and transferred between the manufacturer, suppliers, the distribution center, retailer, and customer. These many nodes in the supply chain calls for an agile and informed supply network in regards to product whereabouts and other specifications.

Key to in-transit visibility are cloud-based GPS and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technologies, which provide identity, location, and other tracking information. These are the backbone of IoT as it relates to the supply chain. By tapping the data gathered by these technologies, detailed visibility of an item is provided all the way from the manufacturer to the retailer. Data gathered from GPS and RFID technologies not only allows supply chain professionals to automate shipping and delivery by exactly predicting the time of arrival; they can monitor important details like temperature control, which impact the quality of a product in-transit.

IoT will bring all of this together in the following way: By putting an RFID chip in a pallet, for example, and a combined integrated device in the shipment vehicle, data is transferred into the cloud, and the devices can identify the pallet and not only share its position using GPS coordinates, but also bring in other data like weather conditions, traffic conditions, and driver-specific data (i.e. driving pattern, average speed).

The incorporation of this digital capability will result in a proactive shift in SCM and result in less delay and downtime due to intelligent analysis of real time data. Some of the benefits of this integration could include:

  • Reduce asset loss. Know about product issues in time to find a solution.
  • Save fuel costs. Optimise fleet routes by monitoring traffic conditions.
  • Manage warehouse stock. Monitor inventory to reduce out-of-stock situations.
  • Gain user insight. Embedded sensors provide visibility into customer behavior and product usage.
  • Create fleet efficiencies. Reduce redundancies

IoT for the supply chain and transportation industries is part of today’s larger-picture digital business landscape by which connected devices enable organizations to work smarter, plan better, and foster more intelligent decision making processes.