The internet of things (IoT) is making waves in virtually every industry today. However, few industries stand to benefit as much or as broadly as those in the freight transportation sector. Already, IoT innovations have begun to bring efficiencies and better oversight to global supply chains. Now, the focus is on improving accountability.
With IoT systems in place, new possibilities for transparency are giving way to improved bottom lines — increasing profits as much as 10%-15% annually. When logistics managers are able to gain valuable insight from sophisticated data systems on-demand, they have fewer unaccounted variables regarding traceability and control over freight.
The new age of Freight as a Service (FaaS) is coming and it’s powered by sensor integrations, real-time data reliance, and robust freight monitoring solutions.
IoT Logistics Drivers
The next-generation supply chain is digital, on-demand, and always-on. Material Handling Institute’s (MHI’s) 2016 Annual Industry Report defined an always-on supply chain as “an integrated set of supply networks characterized by a continuous, high-velocity flow of information and analytics, creating predictive, actionable decisions that better serve the customer.” The modern supply chain relies on technologies that provide important data throughout the chain. The data represented in an always-on supply chain is generally aggregated, pulled from an ever-growing scope of available technologies that include:
- Trackers and beacons that can register chain of custody transactions or provide real-time location reporting. For example, a tracker may send a wireless signal back to a logistics operator every half hour to show the location of cargo en route to its next destination.
- Sensors and monitors that can measure temperature, time, movement, pressure, or any other variables used to gauge asset integrity. An example would be a smart thermometer that alerts drivers or controllers of rising temperatures affecting refrigerated freight.
- Predictive instruments such as programmable modules and smart sensors designed to trigger alerts prior to set thresholds or at intervals — for example, a predictive algorithm that adjusts freight delivery schedules as weather and traffic conditions change.
Each of these technologies forms a pillar of big data insights that govern always-on supply chains. More importantly, these technologies are the keys to driving accountability at all points in the supply chain. Gathering data through these technologies is paying dividends for some of the biggest shippers in the world, such as Amazon, Volvo, and others.
The Many Possibilities of Smarter Supply Chains
From over-the-road (OTR) trucking to ocean transport, today’s supply chain leaders demand versatile, scalable, and reliable solutions. As it has done in so many other industries, technology is providing these solutions to increase productivity, profitability and operations.
The benefits of IoT technologies for today’s modern supply chain can be seen in several key areas:
- Fleet management helps reduce waste within the supply chain and allow supply chain leaders to be more proactive instead of reactive to logistical challenges.
- Freight visibility ensures product integrity and adherence to logistics planning, while also reducing theft and loss as assets move between touchpoints and through chain of custody.
- Inventory management allows supply chains to be managed end-to-end, instead of incrementally, while ensuring better decision-making when handling and moving assets and freight.
Each step toward an always-on supply chain is a step toward unlocking more accountability and visibility into the details of your supply chain. Preventing loss, reducing waste, and streamlining logistics all contribute to reducing cost and providing a better service and product to your customers