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Many Ways IoT-Enabled Sensors Can Help In Logistics

By Pallavi Singh

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The introduction of the Internet of Things (IoT) in logistics industry can be beneficial not only for the companies but also for the consumers. Customers can track the shipment of their products and know the exact delivery date among other things.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is playing a great role in the growth of several industries by providing real-time data and operational efficiency. Logistics is one of the primary sectors that is benefiting greatly from IoT.

IoT, in conjunction with emerging technologies such as Big Data, provides an efficient supply chain platform for the logistics industry through complete transparency and faster detection of issues. Inventory management and warehousing are the most important parts of a connected logistics system. IoT-enabled sensors allow companies to easily track inventory items, monitor their status, and create a smart warehouse system. By using this data, companies can even predict equipment failures and reduce the associated risks.

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Further, IoT technology helps enhance the security of a warehouse. For example, CCTVs and alarm sensors use IoT to announce thefts and protect assets. Remote alarm monitoring can also help monitor video data at any given time across different locations.

While safety is important for warehouse management, most logistics companies find it challenging to ensure the safety of their employees. However, companies that are using such new technologies have managed to protect their staff by reducing accidents at work to a great extent. With real-time data, companies can check the performance of their drivers and vehicles, which helps increase safety and reduce inventory damage.

As a tracking tool, IoT provides real-time tracking to enable customers to track their products. Companies like Amazon use radio frequency identification (RFID) tags that help customers track the shipment of their products. RFID tags have an integrated circuit that allows the customers to detect the location of their goods.

In addition, IoT-based sensing technology can maintain temperature stability and minimise the wastage of perishable products, thereby enhancing the end-to-end supply chain visibility. It can capture data related to environmental factors such as pressure, humidity, and light exposure.

US-based company Union Pacific uses IoT to monitor equipment and predict possible failures. The company uses sensors to monitor the operation of train wheels. As a result, Union Pacific has been able to reduce derailment risks, thereby curbing work-related accidents.

Many companies like those involved in shipping heavy equipment are responsible for emitting carbon footprints every year. IoT devices can allow these companies to analyse, monitor, and even manage the carbon footprint at every level. Companies can identify the process causing higher carbon emission and take measures to make the process more environment friendly.

To achieve success and growth in logistics industry, using predictive analytics with IoT is a must. Such tools are used for laying out the shortest delivery routes, detecting early signs of problems in equipment, and reminding staff when it’s time to replace equipment components. This results in increased productivity of warehouses, timely replacement of defective machinery parts, and prevention of accidents.

For instance, DB Schenker, a global logistics provider, has introduced the Decision Support Tool. This software is used by the company at different warehouse locations to simulate daily scheduling and processes to optimise operations. The company has also launched Industrial Data Space, a platform for secure data exchanges between companies who are using predictive analytics to enable predictive maintenance.

IoT is sure to transform the logistics industry in numerous ways. With the development of low-cost IoT networks and continually falling sensor prices in the coming years, large-scale IoT deployments in logistics will be possible.

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