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What does the Internet of Things mean for logistics?

01 September 2016

The IoT is set to revolutionise logistics. Are you ready?

IoT promotes a world where every single thing, be it animals, objects, people or machines, is linked, accessible and connected through the internet. This circumvents the limitations of time, attention and accuracy brought by human-only input. As Kevin Ashton, co-founder and executive director of the Auto-ID Center at Massachusetts Institute of Technology described it:

"If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things -- using data they gathered without any help from us - we would be able to track and count everything and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling and whether they were fresh or past their best."

As opposed to the Internet being made up solely of human input, the IoT promotes a world where every single thing, is accessible and connected through the internet.

So what does IoT mean for logistics?

The utilisation of IoT offers both strategic and tactical benefits to the logistics industry. For instance, remote access to things like information and control have opened the door to an endless number of new possibilities which bring not only time and cost efficiencies to your bottom line, but also improvements to your customer experience and brand reputation too.

IoT in logistics

There are already a number of industries benefiting from the flexibility and influx of information that IoT offers. These include the retail, healthcare, transport and energy industries to name but a few.

For logistics specifically, IoT allows you to monitor the status of anything connected from parcels to pallets, from transport vehicles to warehouse machinery. It also means you can measure where assets are, how they are performing and ultimately automate business processes more effectively and in real time. This could mean that a connected package can tell its sender and or recipient of its whereabouts and its current condition, all in real time. Another example might be a forklift truck in a warehouse which can alert maintenance teams to wear and tear which could impact its operation efficiency. 

It's obvious then to see how something like real-time monitoring, brought about by the capabilities of IoT, will bring greater efficiencies to your bottom line from a logistics point of view, but the benefits don't just end there. You also need to bear in mind that because other sectors and services are offering IoT enabled solutions - particularly within the B2C world - the expectation for this level of customer service is rapidly transferring to the B2B world too. This therefore offers another opportunity, and this is a much bigger one to grapple with. IoT offers the opportunity to demonstrate your point of difference, gain market share and obtain competitive edge. And, in the long term, help build brand loyalty and commitment too. In essence, IoT-enabled solutions will soon no longer be a nice-to-have but an absolutely must-have.

Things to consider

As with most business opportunities, IoT also brings its own set of challenges. Though fantastic, improved connectivity and communication can incur a large financial outlay from the beginning. However, by utilising an outsourced solution which has the capabilities you require without the hefty price tag, you can help ease this financial burden.

As an outsourced logistics provider, we know the importance of complete visibility and offering a seamless and fully integrated technology-enabled services. The design of all our solutions suit the individual nature of our customers' business needs and improved communication is at the very heart if this. In providing a single and centralised gateway of information to our business customers, we ensure the free movement of data and access from devices and people all over the company. Our full-time software development and programming team design responsive, adaptable solutions that interlink with yours (there isn't a technology system we can't integrated with) and this means you get the information you want, when you want it.

The future is here. It's time to take notice and get on board.

If you'd like to know more about what the Internet of Things could mean for you, and how our customer-first approach to logistics could help you and your business, then drop us a line to speak to one of our friendly service team. Call 01795 413 602 or fill in our quick form and we'll call you back. 

"If we had computers that knew everything there was to know about things -- using data they gathered without any help from us - we would be able to track and count everything and greatly reduce waste, loss and cost. We would know when things needed replacing, repairing or recalling and whether they were fresh or past their best."