IoT is Transforming Logistics with Valuable Data
As manufacturing and logistics scale up, issues have become more involved. Small discrepancies can interrupt a chain of analytics and disrupt key processes. At the same time, solutions have proliferated creating integration and installation headaches. However, the cost of these solutions is decreasing as machine-to-machine connectivity becomes routine through the Internet of Things (IoT).
Once businesses select an IoT solution, the value of the data they process will increase exponentially, resulting in 4 key benefits:
Costs and Delays Will Decrease
IoT is replacing and upgrading traditional inventory and warehouse management systems, asset tracking, and indoor positioning systems. Through IoT, businesses can achieve upwards of 99.5 percent inventory accuracy and a 1/3 drop in labour costs since order processing is sped up by 1/3. Bottlenecks and choke points along the supply chain can be predicted using the smart data of IoT platforms, creating proactive maintenance and worker readiness. Supply Chains stand to benefit the most from the inter connectivity of each link. Through constant, centralized communication, downtime can be reduced and product spoilage averted. When assets are tagged from manufacturing floors to warehouses to retail locations, management teams are better able to detect inefficiencies and eliminate them. Customers also benefit from real-time information on the status of orders.
Processes Will Become Centralized
When data is entered into systems proactively, disjointed logistic processes like manual entries will be eliminated. Reducing the possibility for human error will reduce the burden on employees and ensure that small mistakes don’t scale up the chain into major disasters. For example, even advanced warehouse inventory systems of the past decade rely on workers scanning each bin in a shipment individually. With IoT, equipment can detect tagged assets automatically, freeing up workers hands and saving on hours of pointless labour. With detection equipment on trucks, assembly lines, forklifts, and warehouse aisles, management can see the current position and historical path of an asset along the supply chain. When issues at one point in the chain are detectable in real-time, companies can plan ahead. If a truck carrying a shipment of goods to a warehouse is delayed, management can reassign tasks to workers so they are not waiting at the docking bay. The sensors and tags involved in IoT can even communicate environmental data to management.
Compliance Will Become Automated
The environmental data which sensors and tags relay to management can prove that companies are meeting governmental and industry regulations. Pharma firms have turned to IoT to provide proof of compliance to new temperature regulations for the shipment of medications throughout supply chains. Rather than employ disjointed systems, the latest IoT Technology allows companies to use one solution, like Bluetooth, for tracking, environmental data, and compliance. Rather than have truck drivers check the temperature of shipments at certain stop points, Bluetooth Beacons can send a near-constant temperature reading to an IoT platform. One trick pony products and systems are being replaced by jack-of-all-trades IoT solutions which do not sacrifice quality or quantity to do it all.
Safety and Security Will Increase
Forms of IoT technology offer secure data exchanges because they do not connect to networks during data transfer. Bluetooth Low Energy allows for device to device communication without the need for WiFi systems and network connectivity. Information is encrypted and secure. There are dozens of practical ways which IoT enhances the security and safety of workers. Real-Time Location Tracking allows forklift drivers to see the position of all other employees as the maneuver their 900 lb machines throughout factories. Temperature sensing can save workers from unsafe conditions by automating decisions for worker withdrawal from certain areas. Pressure sensors inside of chambers can predict equipment failure. Accelerometer sensors on moving machinery can detect malfunctions without the need for staff inspections. Workers are safer when devices are interconnected. Workplaces are also more secure thanks to smart data. IoT extends to employee ID cards and can automate access to specific entry points within a facility. If staff need specific training before entering geo-fenced areas, Bluetooth Gateways can detect whether the UUID (unique universal identifier) of the employee allows them entry. All doors, gates, lighting and HVAC systems can be centralized. Sensors can trigger automatic shut-offs which improve employee safety and comfort, but also result in cost savings.
Data is one of the most valuable commodities. The logistic industries will evolve as the data available to it increases exponentially in quality and quantity thanks to IoT.