IoT and smart technology are changing the way logistics management and warehouse management is done. Here's how.
Research & Markets reported that the US Smart Warehousing Market was worth USD 3,481.58 million in 2020. It is projected to grow at a CAGR of 15.24% between 2020 and 2027.
There have been many innovations in the logistics sector as a result of increased demand for transport and logistics. Logistics companies are striving to increase efficiency and transparency. This has resulted in significant innovation and investment into IoT.
Forecasters predict that the IoT market could grow from $1 trillion to $3 trillion by 2025, as IoT grows in popularity. This is due to a shift in connectivity, mainly from IoT platforms and applications.
What Does IoT Stand For in Logistics?
Location and Route Management
Vehicle tracking solutions track the locations of trucks transporting cargo from their destination. Logistics companies use GPS tracking tools to track their trucks and forecast delivery times. This allows for smooth operations and provides more information about the goods being shipped. Companies such as Maersk use trackers to ensure smooth operations.
Automation has reached a new level of precision with the IoT. Vendors and consignees can pinpoint the exact location of their goods without too much effort. VesselFinder provides real-time visibility to containers. Customers can now seamlessly integrate all data from a connected world with seamless ease.
Because goods movement can be tracked in real-time, a warehouse or hub can plan to receive and handle goods. This allows for efficient space management and decreases the need to reserve capacity.
Efficient Last-Mile Delivery
Last-mile delivery is more expensive than other delivery options due to drivers' skills and fuel costs. Delivery trucks can collect orders more quicker and make full use of space with the Internet of Things.
Amazon and other companies are currently testing drone delivery in densely populated regions. The drones are currently being tested in small cities and need to be cleared by aviation authorities. Drone-based delivery will likely become more common as it is easier to deliver same-day.
Monitoring of Condition and Damage
Monitoring the goods' condition while in transit is critical for many industries. This is crucial for perishables as well as cold-chain transport, such as fresh produce, pharmaceuticals, or seafood.
Numerous companies make devices that monitor and log temperature, radiation, shock, humidity, and other conditions. This allows both vendors and consignees to ensure that goods are not damaged in transit. Trackers and smart containers can be used to prevent damage, so your product arrives in perfect order.
IoT in Warehouse Management
Warehouse management can be a tedious job but there are many opportunities for automation. Let's take a look at some of these innovations in warehouse management that the IoT has made possible.
Efficient Stock Management and Stock Status
The Warehouse Management operation can be broken down into picking, packing, and shipping. RFID technology allows goods to be tracked with minimal staff effort. RFID is easy to use and doesn't require scanning. RFID is an old technology, but it is still widely used.
Many companies use RFID tags in their manufacturing processes. This allows for the incoming goods to easily be scanned and logged, without the need to unpack. As goods arrive or depart, you can instantly update your warehouse's stock status.
Picking and Storage
Two of the most labor-intensive tasks in a warehouse are picking and storage. IoT products can make these processes more efficient. Management software will assign a rack to the location where goods should be stored. Storage is the actual transport of goods from their receiving area to the designated place.
The process of picking is very similar. Picking involves first finding the product in the warehouse and then transporting it to packaging. Around 30% of employees work in the warehouse.
These are a few technologies that you should use:
These vehicles are used for moving goods around warehouses. These vehicles often work in tandem with employees, who pick up goods for shipping or storage. Autonomous mobile robots can also pick up and stack the goods onto racks. Alibaba has 700 robots that can transport parcels to their warehouses and deliver them to delivery trucks. GreyOrange and Conveyco are also looking for solutions.
UAVs for Stock-Taking
Many companies offer drones that fly in warehouses to inventory existing stock. Flatware and Argon&Co offer these devices, along with the integration pieces that allow them to interface with management software.
Workers can wear these smart glasses to help them find the product's location and highlight the products that need to be picked up. This eliminates the need to train or make mistakes when picking products. This optimizes the picking path and reduces the distance that the worker must travel.
Logistiview and Realtimelogistics are just a few of the leaders in this field.
The headset allows employees to use simple commands to direct them to the product they desire. This headset is worn by the workers to avoid having to pick with their hands, as pressing buttons would require.
Companies such as Dematic real-time logistics and 6river systems are pioneering voice headsets for warehouse management.
These can be used as barcodes and RFID scanners. They verify the product's existence by picking it up.
IoT and Blockchain for Digital BOL
Blockchain-based logistics uses a distributed ledger shared by all parties to make all data (shipment status at various times, storage environment, and transport status) accessible. This allows customers to track the origin and delivery of their products.
Smart contracts are self-executing and easily enforceable. Cross-border transport requires approvals from many authorities. These contracts serve as an escrow mechanism, allowing funds to be disbursed based on IoT-enabled checkpoints.
IoT technology and Blockchain are combined to create a digital Bill of Lading. This allows for transparency in supply chain processes.
TradeLens was launched by Maersk and IBM in 2018. TradeLens allows you to track containers and vehicles as well as cargo and supply chain management. All freight traffic data from industry partners is compiled into a secure blockchain network. All parties interested have secure access. All documentation, including invoices and bills, is automatically handled by the system.
Blockchain for Dispute Resolution
Many functions in logistics involve dispute resolution. Companies have made great efforts to quickly resolve disputes. FedEx joined Hyperledger, the Blockchain In Transport Alliance (FedEx), and Bida (FedEx), to launch a pilot project that will assist customers in resolving disputes. The immutable nature of Blockchain will reduce customer disputes.
IBM Food Trust is another initiative within the Food Trust ecosystem that allows you to track the origin and consumption of your product. This information is essential to track product transportation. Through the creation of "stories" for each product, this initiative seeks to increase transparency and traceability within food supply chains.
This network integrates data about food production, transport, storage, and distribution. This is vital to ensure food safety and quality standards. Dole and Golden State Foods already implement traceability in their logistic systems.
Logistics and warehouse management is essential for every business, directly or indirectly. This is more than one thing. It's a series of complex processes. It is crucial to connect them all so data flows seamlessly between them.