06 Feb 2019
The Internet of Things
Logistics will never be the same
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a network of physical devices, machines and vehicles, wirelessly connected to each other, exchanging data. It’s revolutionising the logistics industry, allowing real-time updates on every area of operations.
This means you can monitor and analyse demand, supply status and how assets are performing. The knowledge you learn can improve your efficiency by reducing time and resources needed in your logistic operation. You can eliminate human error by reducing human intervention. You improve the quality of your service while lowering your costs.
A closer look: Operational efficiency
Take the management of traffic and fleet operations. IoT enables you to analyse vehicle performance and driver behaviour in real time. Predictive analysis can flag up any potential problems, allowing you to schedule maintenance based on this real-time data.
Sensors are becoming a vital new source of critical data. Sensor-driven data tells you what you need to know about stock, goods and vehicles. Monitoring the changing state of operations in real-time allows you to be agile. You can anticipate customer demands and plan routes accordingly. Route optimisation allows for fuel savings, reduced mileage, a lower wage bill due to fewer drivers needed and maximised loads. The result? Higher profitability, along with a reduction in CO2 emissions.
With telematics, vehicles can record detailed information such as road conditions and elevations. This data – and very clever it is – can then be used to guide other connected vehicles to accelerate and brake more efficiently
More satisfied customers
IoT provides transparency, so fleet managers can effectively coordinate drivers, dispatchers and call centres – even across continents. IoT operates on a global scale but allows for detailed focus. Sensors can track goods in transit rather than from point to point. This allows for a more detailed and accurate picture of when customers can expect their delivery.
Accurate pricing and inventory
Prices can go up and down based on weather, market conditions or demand. Transparency into every factor within your supply chain means you can control your costs. You have the flexibility to change with conditions and make savings.
Real-time inventory management allows you to respond to demand fluctuations while holding onto your buffer in case of emergencies. Data flow from the cloud gives you more precise control over your inventory levels. And that brings us to another question.
Where does the cloud fit in?
The cloud complements IoT. Cloud is for reduced implementation time and letting a vendor manage the solution, rather than having an installation or implementation done. It’s an easy, stabile solution that lowers costs. Having a solution in the cloud makes it easier to access, as well as to add on any additional components to the solution.
Flexible and cost-effective, the cloud reduces the need for infrastructure to house on-site servers. It also ensures you’re always working with the latest applications and it seamlessly scales your business.
Example of what IoT can do for you
JUST EAT is a global take-away platform allowing customers to order food from thousands of kitchens. In several countries, JUST EAT also facilitates the delivery of the ordered food to the customers through their own delivery cars.
JUST EAT uses IoT to increase the customer experience and satisfaction. For delivering directly to customers, the driver receives his order information about the pickup point and the delivery point on his AMCS Mobile application. When the driver picks up at the restaurant, the AMCS solution makes a call to the live Google Traffic Management Control service. The service instantly gives a precise estimated time of arrival (ETA) based on live traffic data, which is pushed to the AMCS route optimisation system that automatically send the ETA to the customer.
The result is proactive notifications to customers about possible delays, or a confirmation that the delivery is going to be on time. A simple solution with far-reaching results.
Used wisely, that’s what IoT is all about.