The Effect of IoT on Logistics

In contemporary society, we see the Internet utility in the same way as electricity; we take it for granted because it is now a ubiquitous presence in our lives, smoothing our passages through business and social engagements.

The era of the Internet is now at a unique stage—we now have what is called the Internet of Things (IoT). In this stage, even previously non-computerized objects are now connected to the Internet.

A recent study by Gartner suggests that in five years, there will be approximately 26 billion interconnected devices present. They also state the considerable impact that IoT will have on the supply chain, revolutionizing how it operates by making a huge amount of information available in real-time to managers of manufacturing companies and the supply chains which support them. This is an exciting time of innovation in logistics.

The changes that are about to be brought have been analyzed and forecasted by DHL Trend Research in a recent study aimed at underlining the implications for logistics arising from IoT.
One of the key narratives put forward when discussing these innovations is that of “lighting up dark assets.” Imagine the trucks and forklifts used to move freight in the supply chain being connected to the internet, and capable of communicating information about their status which would have been previously unavailable. This gives access to new insights and creates extra business value. Even pallets can be connected at a small cost, giving companies access to information about the it’s location and the conditions in which it is currently stored, including metrics such as light exposure and temperature. Connected machinery will be able to communicate their maintenance needs to reduce downtime and allow for contingencies to be scheduled.

The application of IoT to logistics comes with the promise of a substantial impact. The status of every parcel, asset and worker can be monitored in real time throughout the processes of the supply chain. The performance of these business assets can be monitored and any adjustments that need to be made can be done in good time. The processes of the operation can be automated, and the need for manual interventions reduced or even eliminated, while improving the quality of service and bringing down costs. The way assets, systems and people interoperate can be optimized and coordinated, and analytics can be applied throughout the supply chain in order to find new opportunities to innovate.

How do you think IoT will impact the supply chain?

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