How IoT Can Help The Logistics And Supply Chain Sector

Production and material transit process presents multiple challenges at each of their steps. If these challenges aren’t addressed at the right time with proper solutions, there can be several breaks in a supply chain network and big losses. Delays in transportation, cargo lax monitoring, and errors caused by an operator are a few names to several challenges created by outdated solutions. If a transportation & logistics company still continues with its incompetent IT infrastructure, its profits are put at risked and, the cost pressure is ratcheted up. The situation remains unrelenting, no matter a business belongs to the manufacturing sector or agriculture.

Perishables, for example, decay rapidly if not refrigerated properly and transported in the stipulated period of time. As of a recent IoT@Intel column, 30% of all perishables never make it all the way from farms to tables of consumers. Blame it on poor transpiration practices.

See Also: Why We Love Internet Of Things (IoT) (And You Should, Too!)

On the other hand, it’s also a disheartening case of waste particularly when a large portion of the world still doesn’t have sufficient food. But it’s not our discussion area.

We are discussing how the technology can help businesses/sectors so that their transportation-logistics related delays and, damages caused by those delays, can be avoided.

The technology of connected logistics platform can play a big role here. It can power the next generation of successful supply chain management being termed as logistics 4.0. It leverages the power of computing and IoT to build a real-time, sense-and-response based mechanism for logistics operations. The new approach will also allow increasing cybersecurity and be making data handling safely.

The IoT Driven And Managed Hops!

Hops are required to be shipped quickly for the immediate use in breweries. But they are a quite volatile crop that they must be used in beer vats within 12 hours of harvest or they will start getting bad. They are also heat-sensitive. Too much hot weather makes them smell like compost and turn them useless.

But this situation can be controlled easily with the use of IOT enabled sensors. A Newport, Oregon based company, Rogue Ale has done that. It has implemented a more 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 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.

IoT For Tracking The Railroads

Another area where the logistics heavily depends on the integrity of the equipment is the railroad. The failure of a tiny piece of equipment can cause a train derailment. Of course, passengers or carriages being carried on rail will also be injured or halted. The IoT technologies can take care of this issue too. Union Pacific has presented an example by bringing in IoT in action. The IoT system has been designed to monitor the reliability and condition of its equipment. It can predict equipment-related failures and help in avoiding the occurrence of a derailment.

The system keeps tabs on a train wheels’ integrity and is able to send more than 20 million temperature readings per day to Union Pacific data center. On average, Union Pacific finds three railcars exceeding the safety threshold. These railcars are then pulled out for proper an inspection and services.

IoT For Keeping Cold Chain Cold

Cold chains matter a lot especially when it comes to transporting refrigerated food and vaccines. 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 enough to portray 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 been a lot of written about IoT and how the technology will affect almost every industry vertical. But in comparison to 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, and supply chain industry with the same tracking power to have the minute detail of everything, from man to machine, to material to the medium of transportation.

Guest Author: Sofia is a digital marketing expert in Rapidsoft Technologies which is a leading IT consulting company providing full range IT services including, IoT application development, Blockchain development, and big data app development solutions.

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