The Internet of Things is becoming increasingly popular in the consumer sector with connected kettles, baby monitors and doorbells flooding the market. These products are interesting examples of the consumer applications of IoT,but how can the logistics and supply chain sector use IoT to improve operations asks Azhar Hussain MBE, CEO at Hanhaa?

Logistics and supply chain companies acknowledge the power of data and the importance of innovation. Some 47% of companies surveyed in the most recent UK Logistics Confidence Index said they have already invested “significant” resources in optimising the use of data and 23% say they will be implementing supply chain data solutions in the next 12 months.

Integrating IoT solutions into supply chain management is an efficient method to harness the power of data and inform strategies, but the introduction of connected products creates business challenges that require innovative solutions.

IoT can help transform the logistics and supply chain sector, address visibility challenges and prepare businesses for the future by providing truth at scale.

Truth at scale

One of the challenges logistics and supply chain businesses face is having the ability to accurately monitor the condition and location of assets being delivered across their entire network. Advanced IoT solutions can provide companies with environmental updates of shipments as well as goods’GPS location.

For example, global logistics provider DB Schenker has integrated IoT tracker ParceLive into its DB SCHENKER smartbox service, a portfolio of solutions that delivers real-time updates on the condition of containers and the visibility of shipments from door-to-door.

Access to environmental data is extremely beneficial, especially for products with strict requirements, such as pharmaceutical goods – 20 of the 50 top selling drugs require exact cooling levels. Poor temperature regulation will result in products being unfit for use and the pharmaceutical industry losesover $15billion per year in the cold chain due to unfit products.

Using IoT sensors, businesses can accurately monitor their shipments, ensuring products are kept at the exact required conditions and delivered safely.

The power of out-of-the-box IoT

The data generated from connected assets is invaluable, but buying or leasing a fleet of connected vehicles can be expensive and run into the tens of millions. However, there are smart out-of-the-box solutions that can connect any vehicle or asset.

Out-of-the-box IoT devices are an efficient way for companies to quickly transform their fleet and bolster their offering. Top of the range IoT devices are portable and can be associated with any asset, from pharmaceuticals to high-value and fragile electronics.

These IoT devices give companies access to data that was previously not obtainable.Top of the range IoT devices can capture data about temperature, location, humidity, orientation and tilt. These data points are crucial in implementing strategies to boost productivity and save costs.

Azhar Hussain

Security and connectivity

Companies must address security when connecting an asset to the internet. Those seeking to benefit from IoT must research network providers to find the most secure and established infrastructure for their connected devices.

Connectivity itself becomes a challenge with assets frequently sharing data ‘payloads’. When selecting an IoT network, providers need to ask whether the network their connected devices will sit on is a public or private network – as a private network should be more secure.

Also, companies must consider the scope of their geographies as they will need to use a provider that operates across all required locations. Partnering with a global network provider will ensure that wherever products are dispatched, IoT devices will be able to share information with main servers.

By using innovative IoT solutions to gain transparency across their entire supply chain, businesses can create real value for customers and improve their bottom line. IoT has the power to provide transparency in complex supply chains using live, reliable and actionable data sources to provide truth at scale.

The author of this blog is Azhar Hussain MBE, CEO at Hanhaa

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