How IoT Is Revolutionizing The Logistics & Supply Chain Industry

Iot for logistics and transportation

When it comes to the transportation of materials, challenges exist throughout the process. Not addressing these challenges seriously can bring in a number of difficulties and breaks to the supply chain network of a business. Ultimately, there could big losses. Key challenges that a business would instantly experience because of relying on outdated approaches and solutions include delays in transportation, cargo lax monitoring, and errors. And if a business still continues executing its transportation and logistics operations with incompetent infrastructure, its profits margins will soon start narrowing while the cost pressure is ratcheted up. The situation remains unrelenting, no matter a business belongs to the manufacturing sector or agriculture.

Take the example of perishables that decay rapidly if not refrigerated properly and transported in the determined period of time. According to IoT@Intel column, 30% of all perishables never make it all the way from farms to tables of consumers. Of course, poor transportation practices should be blamed for it.

Doubtlessly, it’s a clear case of waste especially when a large number of people in the world still do not have enough food.  Though, it’s not the discussion area in this blog.

This blog discusses on how businesses across industries can adopt the technology so that their transportation & logistics related delays, and losses caused by those delays, can be abrogated.

Here, the technology that connects different logistics aspects together can play a big role. It can also power the next generation of successful supply chain management being termed as logistics 4.0.  It applies the power of computing and IoT to build a real-time and sense-and-response based mechanism for logistics processes. The new approach increases the cyber security and makes data handling safe.

Managed Transportation Of Hops!

Businesses engaged in producing hops are required to rapidly ship their crops for the immediate use in breweries. Because it’s volatile in nature, it must be used in within 12 hours of harvest. After that hopes start getting bad. They are also heat sensitive which means too much hot weather makes them smell like compost and turn them useless.

Here IoT can help producers keep the quality of their hops fresh till they reach their destination. A Newport, Oregon based company, Rogue Ale has done that. It has implemented an efficient supply chain tracking tool to manage hops, which is an extremely tricky perishable. Because hops are meant to be used in brewing as “fresh hop” or “wet hop” beers, the company has brought IoT technology in action. It collects temperature and humidity during every shipment stage, from hop yard to the brewery. IoT enabled sensors can track the locations of shipments with the use of GPS and keep notes of levels of temperature or humidity. It can be controlled remotely if it goes above or falls below the standard boundaries.

In result, the company is able to preserve its products at every step of the supply chain until they do not reach their destinations.

Tracking The Railroad Transportation

Across all countries, Businesses heavily depend on railroad. It’s a rapid and cheapest medium of transporting goods to long distance. But a railroad itself entirely depends on the integrity of its equipment. A failure of a minutest part can trigger big damages. Little negligence can cause huge losses of lives and goods. But IoT technologies can take care of this issue too.

An example of high IoT can help railroads was set by Union Pacific. It implemented an IoT system that can monitor the reliability and condition of rail’s equipment. The system also predicts equipment-related failures and help in avoiding the occurrence of a derailment.

The system keeps tabs on the integrity of a train wheels’ and is able to send more than 20 million temperature readings per day to Union Pacific data center. This system helps Union Pacific find at least three rail-cars exceeding the safety threshold daily. Once the information is available, the railcars are immediately pulled out for proper inspection and services.

Cold Chain Transportation

There are some material types that require cold chain transportation. This sort of transportation require high-level of care because a little variation in temperature may cause loss of thousands of dollars and leave materials useless inside containers. But thanks to IOT that it’s not difficult to get the real-time assessment of safety and quality of pharma products and foods.

These three examples aren’t sufficient to present a perfect picture of a complete picture of the advantages of using IoT across various industries. But they let us know how a business can use IoT technologies to bring in the desired control, responsiveness, and safety in their logistics operations.

There has already been a lot of written about IoT and how the technology can make affect almost every industry vertical. But in comparison of others, the logistics and supply chain industry, in my opinion, is going to get the most practical advantages of IoT. The industry struggles very hard to keep track of goods and their conditions as well as vehicles moving from a location to another. IoT is here to provide the logistics & supply chain industry with the same tracking power to have the smallest of everything, from man to machine, to material to the medium of transportation and everything else.

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