IIoT is making waves in the logistics space. It’s also revealing new socially impactful applications in logistics in the process. For example, IIoT can be used to mitigate global hunger to some extent by using asset tracking sensors to ensure complete integrity and quality during transportation.
IIoT Applications- Logistics is often a poster child use case for new technologies. Not surprisingly, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) found early adoption in this sector. While this post highlights some of the success stories of IIoT adoption in logistics, it also underscores an opportunity for IIoT to have a significant impact on mitigating the problem of global hunger.
“Supply Chain Versus Supply Chain”
In October 2001, nearly a decade before the Internet of Things (IoT) started capturing the minds of business strategists, a thought-leading article “Supply Chain Versus Supply Chain: The Hype & The reality” appeared in the Supply Chain Management Review. The authors—James Rice Jr. from MIT and Richard Hoppe from McKinsey—critiqued the proposition that the nature of competition won’t be between companies, but rather between supply chains. The core of supply chain is logistics: freight transportation, warehousing operations and last-mile delivery. The race for dramatic improvements in operating efficiency in supply chain and logistics had just started.
Just as CNC machines and SCADA were precursors to IIoT on the shop floor to improve agility, productivity and quality, so too were hand-held scanners, bar codes and RFID tags in logistics. (SCADA, hand-held scanners, building automation systems and sensors are essentially data monitoring and data acquistion systems.) With data acquisition infrastructure already in place in warehousing and freight operations, the transition to embrace IIoT was rapid in logistics.
IIoT for Freight Operations
In 2012, annual cargo thefts in the USA and Europe were reported at 946 and 689 respectively. Thefts cost shippers and insurance providers billions of dollars each year, from both the impact of inventory delays as well as the cost of stolen goods.
Through IoT, logistics providers not only get real-time visibility on the movement of goods but also item-wise monitoring. This ensures that each item arrives on time, at the right place, and intact. We can relate to this when we fly across the world with multiple change-overs. The probability of a passenger’s baggage not being on the designated conveyor belt at the arrival airport is reducing each year.