How leveraging connected experiences in logistics can build resilient supply chains How leveraging connected experiences in logistics can build resilient supply chains
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How leveraging connected experiences in logistics can build resilient supply chains

How leveraging connected experiences in logistics can build resilient supply chains

Advances in cloud data storage, artificial intelligence and cellular networks are all collectively driving a more connected experience in transport and logistics

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Internet-of-things (IoT) is no longer a buzzword in the logistics sector. Advances in cloud data storage, artificial intelligence and cellular networks are all collectively driving a more connected experience in transport and logistics by enabling monitoring of vehicles, improving security, and enhancing delivery time.

It is also ensuring proper storage of temperature-sensitive goods and streamlining communications. This promises far-reaching benefits for logistics providers, generating actionable insights that drive change and new solutions.

The best part is IoT has the potential to connect virtually anything to the internet, which can accelerate data-driven logistics. Everyday objects can now send, receive, process, and store information, and thus actively participate in logistics processes.

The connected experience in transport and logistics has also simplified diversification for multinational businesses, who can now better understand customer needs in different markets and respond to them, thus resulting in improved trade between countries.

IoT has particularly played an essential role in the pandemic, where billions of highly temperature-sensitive vaccines have been shipped around the world. DHL used its connected network to safely deliver over one billion Covid-19 vaccine doses to 160 countries.

How to make IoT work for you
IoT in logistics is an ecosystem that harnesses traditionally unconnected assets and objects, turning them into tools for creating new solutions that benefit the entire supply chain. But how exactly do you build an IoT ecosystem as a logistics provider?

IoT devices must be embedded to your assets (warehouses and distribution centres) so that you can communicate with them using everything from cellular-based solutions to RFID and other connectivity technologies. Once you can communicate with your assets, you need to feed the data to platforms and databases so that you can visualise the information. For example, monitoring environmental conditions is a key use case that demonstrates the time and resource-saving value of IoT.

Knowing the environmental conditions along the supply chain is crucial. Until recently, monitoring a facility was a manual and time-consuming process. Someone would have to visit the devices distributed around the building to download the data. IoT has changed this. The latest devices are now connected using low-powered wide-area networks (LPWANs), which transmit information in real-time to a central platform and the customer.

Transforming the future of logistics
In cold chain monitoring, connected devices are used to track each individual shipment and monitor its condition along the entire journey. Many pharmaceutical products have to be transported and stored in temperature-controlled environments. IoT devices can be used to record and report conditions based on customer requirements, which means that customers can see their products stay within a specific temperature range, even during inspection or loading and unloading. As more drugs are being developed that require lower temperatures, the value of IoT in cold chain logistics is only set to grow further.

Lost freight is another huge issue plaguing the transport and logistics sector. However, thanks to IoT, logistics companies can monitor items as they move around a warehouse or distribution centre or the entire supply chain. A shipment can easily be traced from the moment it is picked up to the moment it reaches its final destination.

IoT technology also takes a substantial amount of physical pressure off employees, who no longer need to cross an entire warehouse to check on operations or stock levels. Smart shelves and sensors keep warehouse managers informed in real time, and sensor-equipped transporters pick up heavy loads.

Leveraging the core strengths of IoT
There’s little doubt that IoT solutions strengthen the supply chain, while providing managers with the data they need to carry out daily operations and make well-informed strategic decisions. The transport and logistics sector in the UAE is already highly evolved as IoT, robotics and automation have been widely adopted across the supply chain.

The challenge now is for the data that is collected to become a proven driver of higher efficiency and better service quality for the logistics industry. There is certainly more investment in sensors, and IoT systems have generally become more attractive to logistics operators than ever before. Still, the potential of IoT is yet to be fully tapped, and it has never been a better time to experience its real value in building a resilient supply chain.

Burak Ertuna is the CIO and VP BPO – MEA region at DHL Global Forwarding

Read: How digitisation is helping cities to provide clean water

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