The logistics industry should ideally be running on the following principle:

Transporting the right product in the right quantity at the right price to the right customer in the right condition at the right time and right place.

While the aforementioned aspects are important, logistics owners can’t emphasize more on-time being money, given that delays in shipments are usually tough on the pockets.

After all, the following asterisks in the logistics industry are pervasive concerns:

  • Delayed delivery
  • Poor visibility of shipment
  • Unclear supply chain
  • Stress of inventory management 

If you closely observe your logistics business, these challenges are often interconnected and influence the next to-do task in the list. 

Consider a failure in one of the processes and there goes your profitability swamped like a domino effect.

If the nature of the challenge is interconnected to multiple processes, so should be the solution, and therefore we have IoT solutions in Logistics industry.

But why is it called IoT solutions? Shouldn’t it be an IoT solution for the logistics industry?

Glad you asked.

Now that we are aiming to offset the sweat-breakers from multiple processes of a logistics company, the range of IoT capabilities is comprehensive and exclusive to a single process. There are multi-directional solutions offered by the Internet of Things to the logistics industry:

  • Communication System
  • IT Security
  • Vehicle Tracking
  • Supply Chain Monitoring

To put this into perspective, IoT solutions in the logistics industry is an umbrella term and a cluster of solutions within itself, which better connects your internal processes than what you can manage manually with a troop of a hundred operators.

Are IoT Solutions in Logistics Industry Aging Well?

It’s been two decades and over two years since the advent of IoT. What we might know about IoT may not even equal 1% of its true potential waiting to be explored. But what we definitely know is that it is being discovered in the right direction.

I have three reasons why IoT solutions in logistics industry is here to stay:

a). Huge Market Cap: If it hadn’t been ageing well, IoT wouldn’t have been able to live up to the hype created around the technology. Even keeping that aside, it wouldn’t have evolved and anticipated to get inroads into the logistics industry with a market cap of over USD 41 Bn by 2021.

b). Zeal to Grow: The credit goes to the forward-thinking logistics owners that rely innumerably on the information obtained about the rail, sea, air, and ground-level networks to make a decision. When it comes to the adoption of IoT solutions in logistics industry, the logistics owners are at the forefront of the transition for implementing connection rather than operating with distorted and independent processes.

c). Lucrativeness that Technology Brings Along: Since the logistics industry makes up about 10-12% of any economy’s GDP, the logistics owners are investing and staying invested in the IoT technology to own a consolidated position in the market. As per an analysis by Armstrong & Associates Inc. the logistics industry is estimated to grow over USD 12 Tn by 2023. For making a significant part of income out of this trillion portion of revenue and expansion of business, IoT solutions remain the most-favoured and reliable bet. Hence, the penetration of IoT solutions in logistics industry is happening at a faster rate.

To crown it all, IoT solutions are ageing well and blending in the logistics industry to a level of being a unified process.

IoT Demand Estimation: When is it Right to Implement IoT in a Logistics Business?

Though the demand for IoT can arise when the realization strikes the logistics owner to step up with technology and optimize their processes along with their overhead costs, we have broadly categorized the demand for IoT as per the priority of logistics processes in a business.

Stage 1: Your Logistics Business Prioritizes Core Process

The principle behind logistics is to move something from one place to another. Hence, the processes can be segregated into two main categories:

  • To move
  • To cause the movement

In industry terms, we know these as ‘demand’ and ‘supply’. The supply side of the warehouse involves warehouses, transportation networks, vehicles/shipment carriers, and customers placing orders. This is the supply part of the logistics. On the other end lies the demand side of logistics, consisting of shipment to be delivered and customers receiving the delivery.

Suppose your business goal is limited to only these processes, given that you are nurturing it for growth. In that case, you will need the Internet of Things solutions for capacitive sensing, planning, optimization, routing, and reporting.

Stage 2: Your Logistics Business is Ready for Expansion

At this stage, the logistics business has been well-recognized among the clients and is performing exceptionally. Hence, you do not want to make any error to put a dent in your logistics business. In this case, the incorporation of IoT solutions can serve as a strategic move for information capturing and decision making.

A responsive and communicative supply chain can provide information about the current location of the shipment, and any error in the process can be detected at an early stage, which can either be resolved or communicated to the customer expecting a delivery. In addition to error detection and management, the IoT solutions facilitate a significant reduction in idle time during the supply chain, thereby optimizing the processes and creating a seamless pathway for expansion.

Stage 3: Your Logistics Business is Stable but not Sustainable

The processes and operations of a logistics business are highly complicated. The level of mess increases every time an order is placed, and over the years, it becomes too difficult to detangle. In such a case, it becomes tough to get out of the knotty situation and simplify the processes to understand and interpret the possibilities and opportunities for optimization.

That is when you should realize that it’s time for technology to intervene and rely on IoT solutions for your logistics business. At this stage, when you’re aiming at the sustainability of your business, reporting, analytics, interpretation, and prediction can enable getting a better eye of your business.

Besides these three stages, there’s always some room for improvement in the logistics businesses using technological breakthroughs to shape the future.

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What Does IoT Imply for Customers?

It is obvious that IoT solutions in logistics industry are beneficial for business owners. However, consumers, in turn, seek the Midas touch of technology while choosing a logistics company. Besides technical KPIs of the logistics industry, the tech-savvy consumers see through the eyes of technology to identify the potential and conflict-resolving capabilities of a logistics company. This makes IoT solutions the new MVP for the logistics industry customers.

If you are wondering what are the key parameters that set a logistics company apart with regards to IoT, fret not, for we have covered it:

  • Transparency of Shipment:

We all know how superior are the delivery expectations of customers with the tracking abilities offered by the applications. Customers need to know every single detail about their shipment. Even if it is getting delayed, they expect complete transparency about the process. The positive side of transparency is it builds relationships and inculcates trust among the customers. 

Added advantage: You can save some overhead by reducing the number of your customer support resources.

  • Improved Efficiency:

The ability of the IoT solutions in logistics industry to detect shipment errors at an early stage enables effective communication with the clients. Hence, customers can exactly know what went wrong and how it is going to be fixed along with the revised delivery schedule.

By pinpointing the customers’ issue, logistics companies can keep customers within the sales funnel.

  • Reduction in Delivery Time:

Delivery time is a striking feature for logistics companies. Hence, companies offering a shorter delivery window stand apart from the others for customers. When IoT solutions are incorporated in the logistics business, operations and processes can be optimized, requiring less exhaustion of time and capital.

A shorter delivery window amplifies the customer experience and customer satisfaction rate to a great extent.

IoT is truly a customer-centric solution for the logistics industry.

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What Does IoT Solutions in Logistics Industry Imply for Investors?

The Internet of Things can be dubbed as a suitable data-driven technological breakthrough for the logistics industry. Among the other emerging technologies used in the industry, IoT stands in a dominant position. 

The increasing penetration of IoT solutions in logistics industry has been an inspiration for ‘logipreneurs’ and investors alike. As per a report published by Forrester Research, IoT technology is anticipated to boost investment in the coming years significantly.

Another study titled Internet-of-Things Spending Forecast, 2017 to 2023, states that the companies are likely to increase their investments by about USD 435 Bn to plan, design, and implement the IoT solutions. The IoT apps and solutions are anticipated to grow by 20.2% CAGR over the next five years, making it conducive for the investors.

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Top Logistics Processes Digitalized Under the IoT Influence

The logistics industry has come a long way with the digital processes, and it is currently hinging on telematics and the Internet of Things. The IoT solutions in logistics industry have transformed the manual operations at three crucial levels to encourage digitalization:

  • Connected hardware
  • Infrastructure for transfer of data
  • Tracking of shipment

However, coming at this level was only possible with the other technologies paving the path for the advancement of IoT, such as RFID, barcode, and artificial intelligence. Some of the applications of IoT in logistics industry are as follows:

a.) Connected and Autonomous Delivery VehiclesWith GPS tracking, fuel-level sensors, and driver drowsiness technology turning real in the modern logistics industry, computer vision and electronic engineering are anticipated to encourage unmanned delivery solutions. Since the current trend in the eCommerce industry is all about the next-day and same-day delivery, connected and autonomous delivery vehicles can be assigned short-haul deliveries for efficient deliveries and saving resources.

b.) Smart WarehousingThere are beacon-based warehousing software and IoT solutions that offer complete visibility of inventories and stocks and, in turn, enables quick sorting of the deliverables from the piles of goods. A step away from manual warehousing towards smart warehousing equips the warehouse managers to manage and monitor the loads coming in and going out of the warehouse with utmost efficiency.

c.) Traffic and Fleet ManagementVehicles or carriers make up for the most significant parts of the logistics business. Through a well-connected IoT network, optimum use of assets can be made possible, which further leads to increased operational efficiency. Since the automotive industry is already well-invested in connected vehicles, the entire supply chain can be paced up using IoT.

d.) Equipment TrackingWhen it comes to efficient tracking of shipment, numerous pieces of equipment are usually used to keep tabs on the status. However, while incorporating IoT, Only visual and audio sensors mounted on the top of the shipment can do the work. These sensors trigger notifications to the operators, thereby keeping them updated about the possible delays in the delivery.

e.) Daily Monitoring of ActivitiesIt is a known fact that the more conscious you are about your logistics business, the more you are prepared to offset the future challenges. With the help of IoT technologies, you can monitor inventories, the performance of teams, and productivity to reduce any manual errors.

f.) Theft DetectionThe crucial aim of the Internet of Things is to make warehouses more secure by offering full control to the operators. These connected applications allow business managers to have access to their warehouses from any remote locations. Since access and tracking is available 24X7 from anywhere, theft and any missing shipment can be detected.

h.) End-to-end Product TrackingThe current expectations from the logistics industry are doorstep delivery at the earliest. In this process, the customers ordering for logistics and customer expecting the delivery consistently require the shipment information. Since IoT is used to improve the transparency of the delivery process, end-to-end tracking of product is possible with utmost efficiency.

These are some of the explored areas of the logistics industry. However, the IoT solutions in logistics industry have blown out of proportion to turn into discrete solutions, owing to better traceability, compliance, tracking, and security to the logistics owners.

In addition to this, IoT solutions enable better risk detection and asset utilization for avoiding mishaps in the logistics domain.

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Top Trends for IoT Solutions in Logistics Industry

Amid the threat of data privacy and security and concerns about the installation cost, the IoT solutions in logistics industry are being adopted, owing to their potential to extend connectivity and operational ease. Below are the top trends encircling the IoT solutions in logistics industry:

Which country has high adoption of IoT technology in logistics industry?

The strong concentration of the eCommerce companies in North America requires competitive deliveries, which hard presses the logistics operators to simplify their processes for accommodating new clients and fulfilling more deliveries. Besides this, high-speed Internet connectivity in this developed economy creates a broader pathway for adopting IoT technology in logistics industry. However, the trends of adopting IoT are being replicated by companies headquartered in the U.K, China, New Zealand, and others to gain a competitive advantage.

What are the Top Applications of IoT in logistics?

Remote monitoring, security and surveillance system, toll and ticketing system, automotive telematics, traffic congestion control system, predictive analytics, shipment tracking, and warehouse management are the top applications of IoT in the logistics industry.

Which Level of Logistics Companies are Adopting IoT?

Logistics companies that have been established for quite some time now and are looking to simplify the business complexities are proactively adopting the technology. Besides this, new-age logistics companies adopt IoT to stay distinguished from the mid-level and enterprise-level logistics companies. Basically, any logistics company seeking business ease and competitive advantage is looking at IoT solutions for logistics.

What are the Practical Examples of Famous Logistics Business Using IoT?

When the world is becoming a smaller and compact place, the supply chains are turning increasingly complex. Establishing a connection between the processes, people, data, and shipments is getting difficult. That’s how the logistics owners unaware or perplexed about the potential of the IoT technology in logistics industry think. The others simply invest in IoT solutions in logistics industry:

Amazon

It takes a big bang worth of disruption in the supply chain to be the most profitable eCommerce company in the world. And Amazon shows how to do logistics right by riding the wave of technological revolution. Since Amazon is a multi-seller marketplace, every product is unique in size, shape, price, and quantity. If Amazon assigned the task to box the shipment, it would have taken a few more decades to be where it is today. Thankfully, it has relied on Wi-Fi operated robots that read the QR codes with the integrated cameras to identify the products.

Amazon is winning in the eCommerce and logistics niche by striking a balance between AI and IoT technology for efficient warehousing and smart deliveries.

Maersk Line

Indeed Maersk Line takes pride in its forward-thinking and strategic moves for being the world’s largest company for shipping containers in terms of both–cargo capacity and fleet size. It provides regular services to over 370 ports across 116 countries. Being in such an envious position with a highly complex supply chain requires a firm spine of technology.

Maersk Line learnt it way before any logistics company did and partnered with Ericsson in the year 2012 for installing the real-time monitoring system that can communicate using the satellite communication technology. The partnership made back then also required the service provider to offer cargo care, efficiency, and security. As of today, Ericsson enables Maersk’s 300,000 refrigerated containers to send vital data regarding the power supply, location, and temperature.

Port of Hamburg

Accredited for being one of Germany’s busiest ports in Europe is home to passing millions of container ships. According to an estimate, the number of container ships is anticipated to rise by nearly 25 Mn by the year 2025. The high demand for accuracy and shipment tracking is possible with SAP solutions and HANA database to enable IoT solutions to connect elements such as heat detection sensors, cameras, and alarm systems.

These communicative capacities and embedded sensors are the crucial tangible assets for efficiently handling the volume of the shipment. The communication and sensing capabilities of IoT enables the port officials to receive crucial instructions, monitor the environment of shipment, report the status of goods, and provide relevant insights.

Decathlon

Decathlon is a popular sports retailer store with over 850 stores in about 22 countries. With demand from across the world, Decathlon realized the rewarding feature of tracking and tracing shipment. As a result, it incorporated the IoT technology with RFID at the checkpoint systems. Currently, about 400 stores from its chain are using the RFID tagging system.

Using the RFID tagging technology, Decathlon’s products are shipped to vendors in a shelf-ready condition with high accuracy every time. The IoT technology helps in saving employee time by not having to check the shipment manually.

You can be the next early adopter of IoT in the logistics industry if you implement the technology now.

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