Supply chain management is quite important for retail businesses and manufacturing companies. Logistics is a huge conundrum for such businesses as containers or personnel go missing owing to inadequate tracking tools. Hence, every stakeholder in supply chain industry needs to leverage existing processes with Internet of Things (IoT) implementation today.
Internet of Things connects small and large devices using the World Wide Web that enables them to be tracked, managed and traced easily by authorized personnel, even from remote locations. IoT can easily track stolen gadgets and even control settings like temperatures remotely. Supply chain and logistics can do a lot with IoT too!
IoT – Coming to the Aid of Logistics and Supply Chain Management
Logistics and supply chain management can get disrupted owing to climatic conditions, power outages, traffic congestion, freighter strikes and even loading vehicle breakdowns. Businesses who ship goods and await delivery lose heavily with the delay as a result.
A consignment of perishable products can lose out owing to inadequate logistical support. It is estimated by the Food and Agriculture Association (FAO) of the UN that one-third of food being produced in the world is lost or being wasted owing to faulty and insufficient supply chain solutions. It is also estimated in the same report that only 25% of the wasted food can feed all the undernourished people of the world routinely.
Also businesses lose a lot through faulty supply chain solutions in handling goods such as electronics, clothes, and medicines. Lack of proper warehousing facilities along with faulty transport is huge factor in losses for several businesses. Such losses can prove detrimental for overall human life and infrastructure.
IoT applications that will affect logistics and supply chain positively
Temperature control facilitated by IoT is one of the few supply chain solutions that are crucial in handling cold storages. A lot of food is lost owing to few cooling storage areas. Handlers also fail to connect power, causing perishables to rot on a routine basis. Similarly, cold storages need to maintain proper temperatures to ensure all the food consignments are fresh and saleable. With IoT, logistics providers can track temperatures for different consignments and maintain them at desired levels.
Logistics and supply chain revolve around timely delivery of goods to consignee. Though every logistics provider are keen to deliver consignments on schedule, they fail to do so on a regular basis since there is absence of proper tracking of location of a container for timely delivery. A vehicle could face traffic congestion or even get delayed for multiple reasons. The absence of tracking information is highly frustrating to all the parties involved. IoT helps users to pinpoint vehicle location and schedule the loading or delivery of goods for dispatch or receipt efficiently.
Timely maintenance of vehicles can help reduce breakdowns on any route. Fleet management can prove full of hassles during peak seasons. Through IoT, one can create efficient maintenance schedules and ensure adequate trucks are available daily for seamless cargo movement. Breakdowns of vehicles can be tracked with IoT, enabling quick and immediate repair service from mechanics in nearest garages.
Identification of Dangerous goods
IoT can play a huge role in the identifying harmful substances during transportation of cargo including explosives, corrosives, radioactive material, flammable stuff, toxic substances etc. IoT enabled containers can activate real-time tracking of the cargo and divert hazardous cargo along other safer routes with minimal accident chances.
IoT for logistics and supply chain solutions is surely making inroads with early success. The continued success will depend on rapid implementation of IoT in their operation as soon as possible.