Retail and IoT, Part I: Optimizing Transportation

Karen St. George, VP Marketing
07/10/2018

Perhaps one of the most overlooked areas of retail success is supply chain effectiveness. Disruptions that impede products getting where they need to be – whether from the distributor to the warehouse, or delivered to the customer – can offset strides made to increase revenue and profits. At the heart of retail supply chain efficiency is transportation.

With the help of Internet of Things (IoT) technology, retailers are able to troubleshoot potential problems that cost time and money. And when issues beyond their control arise, they are better positioned make decisions to prepare for and overcome challenges. Here are three ways IoT applications are facilitating more effective transportation in the retail industry:  

  • Fleet tracking: For retailers that manage their own distribution, it is critical to always know where vehicles are in transit. IoT has enabled retailers to more accurately identify when inventory will be – or not be – available. And stores that offer online delivery options now have to consider disruptions that could prevent products from getting from a distribution center – or in the case of grocers with delivery services, from the store – to a customer’s home. Fleet tracking helps stores better determine when customers will get their orders and provide the analytics needed to optimize the process moving forward.
  • Fleet health: It is a pretty simple concept: vehicles being repaired cannot deliver inventory. With IoT, the frequency and severity of repairs can be reduced. Sensors within delivery vehicles monitor a variety of data points to identify when a truck may need preventative maintenance based on miles driven, brake wear, etc. helping to reduce the risk of more costly breakdowns. And from a longer view, preventative maintenance – as opposed to reactive maintenance – extends the life of vehicles thus lengthening the purchase cycle.
  • Asset tracking: IoT sensors can give great insight into the status of individual assets in transit, measuring environmental conditions that could have an impact on goods. This is especially important for perishable and fragile inventory. By identifying damages and recording when and where they happened, retailers can drastically improve quality control, while uncovering areas where improvements to asset integrity can be made.

While IoT can help make a retailer’s transportation processes more efficient, compiling the data can also empower smaller organizations that rely on outside partners for their transportation needs. The data collected regarding on-time deliveries, product damage, and other details can identify partners that are costing them revenue. Data is king and IoT offers a direct line of sight into that data.

Learn how KORE can support your IoT implementation from start to finish, allowing you to focus on what is most important to your business. Learn more.

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