Physical infrastructure is no longer the only driver of your ecommerce shipping; data is an equally powerful browser that is changing the logistics game. The rapid adoption of IoT technology is leading to an exponential increase in data. At the same time, AI is pushing the boundaries of processing this vast influx of data, powering advanced analytics systems.
Logistics, as we know, includes various players along the supply chain, such as manufacturers, storage units, distributors, freight forwarders, and 3PL companies, among different third-party providers. In today’s modern era, automated systems are necessary to understand the data-rich landscape and optimize the movement of shipments throughout the supply chain.
IoT and analytics deliver just that, and market sentiment is optimistic. According to Allied market studies, The global market value of IoT in transportation could break all records and reach $495 billion by 2030.
In this article, we will highlight four notable areas that implement IoT and analytics in logistics.
Shipment tracking and monitoring
Logistics services are implementing IoT at scale for seamless shipment tracking. For example, shipments may cross different geographic regions with extreme environmental conditions when transporting long distances. Using wireless devices, RFID tags, GPS sensors and eSIM, IoT systems can track real-time location and retrieve essential details such as location, weather, volume , potential defects, container temperature fluctuations, humidity and other environmental factors that could impact shipping.
Additionally, IoT analytics can identify and alert against the risk of external damage caused by careless driving during transportation. Integrated route optimization systems provide instant container movement and trigger alerts if there is a change in the committed route. This enables logistics services to ensure the safe movement of goods such as pharmaceuticals, fresh produce, etc. The network of IoT devices streams real-time data to the app and triggers alerts in predefined cases.
When it comes to warehousing, IoT sensors use wireless devices to help maintain uniform temperature and humidity levels and adapt to other environmental conditions throughout warehouse facilities . This also includes triggering an alarm during a fire, water leak or other irregular event.
Then the IoT network can quickly and efficiently update the number of goods to maintain inventory status. IoT-connected facilities like these make it easier to store perishable products.
When stock levels reach a certain threshold, the system can trigger replenishments, ensuring that products are always in stock and reducing the risk of stockouts.
Amazon’s automated warehouses are the best case studies to understand this. In addition to monitoring product conditions and temperatures, Amazon uses IoT to move its forklifts. Additionally, Amazon identifies areas of the warehouse where forklifts spend too much time or frequently get in the way of each other. Amazon then takes steps to resolve these issues, such as changing the warehouse layout or adding new loading docks.
Digital Freight Shipping
IoT and automation play an important role in optimizing digital freight transportation. IoT-based automation significantly improves freight transportation, which is the process of internationally shipping goods between manufacturers, warehouses, distribution centers, etc., by opening their platforms to services such as booking online and real-time shipment tracking. All the applications mentioned above, such as tracking temperatures, location, security, inventory, etc., can be fed into freight transportation dashboards.
Given AI’s ability to process large volumes of data, digital freight transportation can provide business owners with accurate forecasts and tools to analyze demand patterns, helping them make decisions more enlightened.
AI computer programs can provide useful insights by carefully analyzing past shipping data, market trends, and weather fluctuations. This information makes it easier to plan the most optimal routes, determine the space needed and manage the volume to keep in stock.
Any discussion of IoT and delivery is incomplete without mentioning drones. In recent years, their adoption has accelerated and logistics companies are exploring the possibility of deploying them in large numbers to enable various applications. As drones are an integral part of the IoT machine network, they help improve warehouse navigation, monitor inventory, provide customers with instant in-store deliveries, resolve last-mile issues, and more.
By 2028, the drone delivery market is expected to reach US$11.66 billion, strengthening the prospects of drone technology becoming more widespread. This will significantly reduce costs, speed up delivery times and improve customer satisfaction.
In today’s rapidly growing e-commerce landscape, logistics companies face unique challenges and are required to offer efficient and secure services. As such, the sector is undergoing a transformational shift in which data has become just as essential as physical infrastructure. IoT and AI are leading this initiative, improving shipping processes around the world.
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