The logistics industry is facing enormous pressure to innovate. Competition is fierce. Start-ups are forcing their way into the market. Online retailers are embracing new delivery concepts. Customers have exacting requirements when it comes to level of service and flexibility. The Internet of Things cuts costs, accelerates the transport chain, and reduces its susceptibility to errors.
The logistics industry is changing. Simply transporting, transshipping, and storing goods is no longer enough. Business has become more global. Goods come from everywhere. The boundaries between retailer, supplier, and freight forwarder are increasingly blurring. Today’s customers expect more services, flexibility, and punctual deliveries from their logistics provider. They also want products and services to be customized. For logistics this means creating flexible value chains – from the supplier, via the retailer, to the end customer. This is only possible with key technologies such as the Internet of Things.
The Internet of Things (IoT for short) is one of the biggest digitalization drivers worldwide. Yet the associated challenges are complex. Specific empirical data, practicable technologies with network and sensors, and guidance are essential here.
Guidance comes in the shape of the white paper Logistics 4.0 (only in German) from Magenta Business in Austria. It provides answers to important questions posed by logistics companies: Where should the journey go with the aid of digitalization? Should I optimize my existing business model or implement a new one? And what technologies will help me to increase workflows efficiently, to cut costs, and to boost customer satisfaction?
Back to square one
Coordinating the fleet, billing project times, and driver times and weekly reports, most of which are still done by hand, are the greatest challenges in the logistics space. With digital solutions like IoT, logistics processes can be managed more effectively, and complexity reduced. These solutions create transparency and promote collaboration in the supply chain.
If logistics providers want to introduce new business models, a partnership with an IoT service provider will prove useful. Such providers offer products and solutions that collect and analyze large volumes of data. With online platforms in the Internet of Things, for instance, simple consignments can be handled more efficiently, by directly connecting customers and logistics service providers. Truck payload utilization can be optimized, while also reducing shipping costs.
IoT simplifies processes - say if driver times have to be recorded and weekly reports created. Sensors automatically determine the drivers’ working hours. The mileage and fuel consumption of the trucks are also recorded. On the basis of this digital data, weekly and monthly reports are available faster. And the actual project costs can be consulted at any time.
IoT also makes it easier to plan optimum routes. Data on the availability of vehicles, current distances to the loading location or order location, delivery times, traffic jams, acceptance periods, route restrictions, and much more besides are factored in. All of which saves time and fuel.
Food shippers must demonstrate seamlessly that the cold chain remained intact, and the freight was cooled properly. Telematics and sensors in the vehicle allow the freight temperature to be read off precisely anytime, anywhere.
The haulage and logistics industries have established a digital lead over the past few years compared with other industries. The goal for modern, digital logistics providers will be to ensure that the cargo will in future follow a data track that needs to be monitored continuously. And that’s where the Internet of Things comes in.
Find out more about Logistics 4.0 in the white paper (in German) and how the logistics industry benefits from digitalization.