Internet of Thing (IoT) with Logistics and Supply Chain: The Way Forward

IoT provides information via the cloud

The logistics and supply chain become complex day by day by absorbing the growing requirements of the trade. This further increase the requirement of real-time information/ tracking of the goods floating around the world. The RFID (Radio-frequency identification) technology allowed the logisticians to track the shipment which was a nightmare before the technology has innovated. Yet, it provides only the data like whether the shipment left the factory, on the carrier or in the warehouse. Even this was a big relief to the logisticians to track the shipments, the need for more real-time information was not ended.

With the Internet of Thing, shipment link to the web and exchange real-time information via the cloud in computing technology. With the trend of outsourcing most of the activities of the firms, demand for the requirement of receiving real-time information has increased. With the tracking systems developed with the IoT, especially the IoT sensor technology, logisticians have the ability to get real-time information even the shipment is at the factory or even on the transit. Knowing unexpected transit delays including cargo shut outs, advanced transit time support logisticians to be proactive and minimise the disruptions to their logistics and supply chain.

Digging into the concept of IoT, the firms practising JIT (Just In Time) or lean inventory enjoy the benefit of IoT more than the other firms. If a delay in transit indicates by the IoT, firm may have the time to take precautionary actions like sourcing materials which fastly available, renegotiate with the customers, change the production plan or change the on carrier or airfreight materials/final products.

This will enable firms to keep the quality service to the customers instead of providing excesses on delays and stressing the production plant unnecessary. Further, real-time information helps to analyse the occurrence of delays in transit and the exact locations of occurrence. This will enable firms to use alternative routes or alternative carriers.

Information flow among consignee/consignor and carrier, freight forwarder, ports and even within the department of the firm improves efficiently with the IoT.

Not only for the production plant, but ports and fleet managing companies could also enjoy the benefit of IoT which provides broad coverage to the industry. Warehouse management and inventory controlling become much easier with IoT. It helps to easily identify space utilization, track the cargo location as well as to enhance productivity. Productivity could be on the warehouse equipment or space, port cranes, vehicle movements or any other superstructure. This will enable to identify idling resources and resources which need much investments and attention.

Theft detectors are another positive result of IoT. These alarm sensors could detect the theft which ultimately improves the security of the port leading to zero theft and zero pilferage.

The “Hapag- Lloyd Live” is one good example of IoT which cater to the demand for real-time information improving the visibility of the supply chain. Tracking and controlling the temperature with IoT provides a more reliable cold supply chain to the world.

IoT supports the growing need for lean supply chains, improving efficiency and reducing cost throughout the supply chain. The need and the demand for innovations with IoT increases day by day to improve the visibility of the supply chain and to gain other benefits. IoT solutions are win-win and push the industry to invest more and implement more technologies for the betterment of the industry.