Smart technology and IoT adoption are revolutionizing logistics management and warehouse management. Here’s how.
“The US Smart Warehousing Market was valued at USD 3,481.58 Million in 2020 It is expected to grow at a CAGR 15.24% by 2027 to USD 9,400.10 Million” – Research & Markets.
With an ever-increasing consumer demand, The load on logistics and transportation has increased, and many new innovations have been made in the logistics industry. Logistics companies strive to improve efficiency and transparency. This has led to significant innovation and investment in IoT.
IoT is becoming more and more popular. Forecasters predict that the IoT industry could generate between $1 trillion to $3 trillion in revenue by 2025. This is because of a shift in connectivity from IoT-powered applications, platforms, and services.
How does IoT complement logistics?
Location and Route Management
Vehicle tracking solutions monitor the location of the trucks transporting cargo to their destination. GPS tracking tools are used by logistics companies to track their trucks and predict the delivery time. This helps in smooth operation and gives you more insight into the goods being transported. Trackers are used by companies such as Maersk to ensure efficient operations.
The IoT has elevated automation to the next level in terms of granularity. Without too much effort, vendors and consignees can pinpoint exactly where their goods are. VesselFinder is a company that provides visibility to containers in real-time. A connected world is better Customers now have visibility These can be easily integrated with the data available.
A warehouse or hub can plan ahead for the receipt and handling of goods because the movement of goods can be tracked in real-time. This makes it easier to manage space efficiently and reduces the need for reserved capacity.
Efficient Last-Mile Delivery
Due to the dependence on drivers’ skills and fuel costs, last-mile delivery covers more than 30% of all delivery costs. The Internet of Things allows delivery trucks to collect orders faster and make use of all available space.
Companies such as Amazon are also trying Drone-based delivery last mile Especially in densely populated areas. These are currently being tested in small towns and require clearance by the aviation authorities. However, it is only a matter of time before drone-based delivery becomes mainstream because it is cheaper for same-day delivery.
Condition and damage monitoring
Many industries are dependent on monitoring the condition of goods while in transit. It is vital for perishables and cold-chain transport such as fresh produce, pharmaceuticals, and seafood.
Many companies manufacture devices that can monitor and log conditions such as temperature, radiation, shock, and humidity. This allows vendors and consignees to make sure that the goods do not get damaged during transit. You can also use technologies such as Trackers and smart containers to control damage so that your product arrives in perfect condition.
IoT in Warehouse Management
Although warehouse management is a labor-intensive job, there are significant opportunities for automation. Let’s look at some of the new innovations that IoT has made possible in warehousing.
Efficient Stock Management and Stock Status
The entire process of building a warehouse Operation can be divided into receiving Storage, packing, shipping
Use technologies such as RFID to move goods in and out of the warehouse can be automatically logged by staff with little effort. RFID also non-requires scanning and a direct product view. This reduces the need for sorting and unpacking.
Although RFID is an old technology that has seen widespread adoption, it is cost-effective and easy to use. Many companies also use RFID tags in their manufacturing processes. This allows for incoming goods to be easily scanned and logged without the need to unpack.
You can update the stock status of your warehouse in Real-time updates of goods entering and leaving the warehouse are available without additional effort. The inventory is always up-to-date at any given moment.
Storage and picking
Picking and storage are two of the most labor-intensive tasks in a warehouse. These processes can be made more efficient by using IoT products. The management software will assign a rack or place where goods should be stored. However, storage is the actual physical transport of goods from the receiving area into the designated location.
Picking is similar. It involves finding the product in the warehouse and then bringing it to packaging. The warehouse is where employees spend around 30% of their time.
Here are some of the technologies you can leverage:
Automated guided vehicles are used for moving goods around the warehouse. They often work together with employees who pick up the goods for storage or shipping. Autonomous mobile robots, on the other hand, can pick and stack the goods onto the racks. Alibaba, for example, has 700 robots that can transport parcels and deliver them to delivery trucks at their warehouses. Conveyco and GreyOrange are also working on solutions.
UAVs for stock-taking
Many companies offer drones that can fly in the warehouse to take inventory of existing inventory. These devices are provided by Flytware and Argon&Co, as well as the integration pieces that allow them to interface with management software.
These smart glasses can be worn by workers to guide them to the location of the product and to highlight which product needs to pick up. This eliminates the need for training or human error when selecting products. This optimizes the pick path to reduce the amount of distance the worker must travel. Logistiview, Realtimelogistics, and other leaders in this field are among them.
The headset is worn by the employees and allows them to speak simple commands, which directs them to the product of their choice. This is done to ensure that the worker doesn’t have to use their hands for picking, which would require pressing buttons.
Voice headsets for warehouse management are being pioneered by companies such as Dematic real-time logistics and 6river systems.
These can be worn as barcodes or RFID scanners, and they verify the product’s existence by picking it up.
Also read: 9 Technology to Make Smart Warehouse
IoT and Blockchain for Digital BOL
Blockchain-based logistics use a shared distributed ledger to make all data (shipment status at different times, storage environment, and transport status) available. This increases transparency and allows customers to track their products’ origin and delivery.
The smart contract makes it self-executing and enforceable. There are many approvals and authorities involved in cross-border transportation. These contracts are an escrow mechanism that allows funds to be disbursed based on IoT-enabled checkpoints.
Combining IoT technology with Blockchain, IoT applications in logistics create a digital Bill of Lading. This creates transparency in supply chains.
Maersk and IBM launched TradeLens in 2018. It allows you to track containers, vehicles, cargo, and supply chain management. All data related to freight traffic from industry partners are compiled into one secure blockchain network. All interested parties have secure access to the information. The system automates all documentation associated with the system, including bills, invoices, and fees.
When combined with the technology Blockchain, IoT applications in the logistics industry create a digital Bill of Lading (BOL) that creates whole transparency to supply chains.
Blockchain for Dispute Resolution
Logistics has a lot of functions that involve dispute resolution. Companies have worked hard to resolve disputes quickly. FedEx joined Hyperledger (Blockchain In Transport Alliance) and BiTa (FedEx) to launch a pilot project that will help customers resolve disputes. Customer disputes will be minimized by the immutable nature of Blockchain.
IBM Food Trust, another initiative of IBM within the Food Trust ecosystem, allows tracking the origin of the product up until the point of consumption. This information is crucial to track product transport. To launch the IBM Food Trust, IBM used the Hyperledger Fabric distribution register. This initiative aims to improve transparency and traceability in food supply chains through the creation of end-to-end “stories” of each product.
The network gathers and integrates information about food production, transport, and storage. This is crucial to ensure safety and quality standards in the food industry. Dole and Golden State Foods already have traceability implemented in their logistics systems.
Every business needs logistics and warehouse management, whether directly or indirectly. It is not one process, but a series of complicated processes. The key challenge is interconnecting them so that data flows smoothly between all components.
IoT promises promising innovations in logistics and warehouse management and will only increase.