During an unprecedented year in supply chain management, IoT helped companies weather the storm — tracking cargo, informing decisions, and keeping customers informed.
Supply chain challenges are not going away anytime soon. But decision makers can leverage IoT to meet the moment and prepare for the future of logistics.
Here are four concrete ways IoT can streamline logistics and strengthen the supply chain.
There are few things more disruptive to the supply chain than lost or stolen cargo. Cargo theft alone costs the transportation industry $50 billion per year. On the bright side, location-based services have countless success stories in recovering lost or stolen goods.
Cargo monitoring is one reason why. At the most basic level, cargo monitoring solutions tell you where your cargo is in real time. They can also confirm the condition of shipped goods. If food starts to get too hot, for example, fleet managers can get a warning before the shipment is destroyed.
Location-based services also give fleet managers the evidence they need to go after stolen cargo. Weight monitors in trailers can detect and report any drastic changes immediately. In-vehicle video provides real-time driving alerts and historical footage to review.
In some cases, these clues can even prevent theft before it happens.
Previously, decision makers had to wait for reports about cargo. Today, IoT solutions can collect and upload data in real time.
IoT data can cover a multitude of variables. For example, a smart monitor can collect information on temperature, location, speed, and route simultaneously. Decision makers can use this detailed information to make quick and informed decisions.
IoT data can also improve forecasting. Forecasting is never an exact science, but it’s a lot closer with good, clean data. IoT data is concrete information about connected devices, collected directly from the source, and updated constantly. This allows more accurate and timely forecasting.
As a result, IoT helps companies decide how to allocate resources and secure the most seamless productivity possible. While a workflow is always a work in progress, rapid IoT data analysis can help companies pivot quickly when it counts. It can also help nip problems in the bud before they affect other parts of the supply chain.
The warehouse is the heart of the supply chain. With product and employees constantly moving about within a warehouse, a seamless workflow is crucial for productivity, safety, and planning.
Sensors can be placed throughout a warehouse to locate items and keep track of them during the picking and packing process. This can also provide insight into how much volume is being processed at any given time, or over a period. Smart shelves offer real-time inventory by monitoring and transmitting data on shelved products.
IoT-connected sensors can also monitor the environment for fire or equipment hazards and communicate to avoid collisions. This provides safety managers more real-time oversight in large spaces.
With the rise of e-commerce, last-mile delivery is in the spotlight for companies and consumers alike. When products reach end consumers quickly, it increases consumer confidence. But breakdowns in last-mile delivery are a testament to how fragile logistics can be.
IoT paves the way for smooth delivery well before a product begins the last leg of its journey.
Because IoT can increase connectivity in all parts of the supply chain, it allows for quick and efficient decision-making. For example, if inventory is depleted at a fulfillment center closest to a consumer, IoT data can help determine the next best option.
Companies can also use this information to notify consumers of estimated shipping times. When inventory is replenished, the connected systems can be immediately alerted to resume business as usual.
All in all, IoT insights allow companies to be transparent. The ability to provide confident answers is the sign of a healthy supply chain — and it delights customers.
In the past year, companies have reacted to unprecedented supply-chain challenges. Now, companies can be proactive. Industry leaders are investing heavily in supply chains to address problems and prepare for the future.
In an increasingly technology-driven logistics industry, IoT solutions are a key part of strengthening the supply chain.
KORE is an expert in fleet telematics and location-based services. We can help keep your company ahead of the curve with solutions designed for your needs.
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