How IoT has impacted the Logistics industry

The logistics industry is an integral part of any business. It is evident that technology has transformed the logistics industry. But, how has the Internet of Things impacted the logistics industry? 

When the mainstream media and digital platforms discuss IoT, much of the news revolves around wearables, smart home devices and medical equipment. However, less information is aired or printed regarding the impact of IoT in the manufacturing industry – especially the logistics industry. 

The current logistic industry focuses on ensuring timely delivery, enhancing supply chain visibility, advocating transparency in product lifecycle and guaranteeing quality of goods. 

IoT is poised to take centre stage in the achievement of the 7Rs logistic principles. This means moving the right product;

  • In the Right quantity,
  • In the Right Condition
  • In the Right place
  • At the Right time.

Now let’s explore how IoT has impacted the logistics industry. 

Location management system 

The logistics industry uses location management systems to manage fleets. Integration of IoT in the location management systems transforms them into smart location management systems that offer seamless capabilities to logistics companies.

Smart location management systems enable logistics companies to easily monitor driver activities, track vehicle location and track the delivery status of goods. 

Vehicles are fitted with tracking devices and sensors that offer real-time location. Constant updates facilitate effective planning. 

Inventory and warehouse management 

IoT improves overall warehouse operations by providing smart solutions to warehouse and inventory management.

With IoT sensors and devices such as guided robots and drones in the warehouse, space utilization is optimized. The retrieval of inventory is also made easier. Drones are able to fly within the warehouse to store or retrieve the goods required within a short time.

IoT enables the tracking of inventory items and monitoring of their condition in storage and while in transit. Small and inexpensive sensors installed in the warehouse are able to control conditions such as temperature within the warehouse. This ensures that goods are stored in optimal condition to prevent losses arising from spoilage.

Warehouse managers are able to keep up with the changing inventory. By using inventory monitors, managers can determine which goods are moving quickly and which are moving slowly. This makes them aware of what quantities to order so that they can meet their customers’ demand.

Enhancing supply chain management

Goods from warehouses are sent to many destinations worldwide.  Controlling every step of the supply chain is a daunting task, given the distances. IoT provides connected systems that help the supply chain managers track the state of goods in transit, location, and the speed of vehicles transporting the goods. The customers can also track their goods and collaborate in real time with other managers along the transport route. 

IoT enables monitoring of the condition of goods in transit.  Installing sensor in containers enables the monitoring and controlling of the condition of these goods. This ensures that the goods reach the customers in the desired condition. IoT helps significantly reduce losses associated with spoilage and damage to goods.

Speeding up delivery

Drones are being used in the delivery of goods especially in the case of eCommerce. Drones are used for in-house delivery such as moving goods from one place to another or picking goods up and loading them on to trucks.

Drones are also being used to deliver goods to customers in their homes. Drones can fly to a destination and drop goods off that were ordered by a customer. In Rwanda, for instance, drones are being used to deliver urgent blood supplies to hospitals in remote areas as this solution saves time and lives.

Conclusion 

IoT has impacted the logistics industry in a great way. From IoT sensors installed in warehouses and transport containers to devices such as drones and robots operating in warehouses, the industry has improved efficiency, reduced operational time and costs, and reduced damages and spoilage of goods.

   

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