Looked at from the perspective of connectivity, digital technology and transportation are akin. Digital technology moves data in the virtual world and transportation moves people and freight in the real world. Technological advancements in the transportation industry are critical for enhanced agility, risk mitigation and specialization. Logistic providers will need to focus on improvements in the quality of customer service, efficiency of inventory management, and adherence to laws and regulations.
The Transportation Industry
The Internet of Things (IOT) will make integrated transportation and warehouse management a reality. Embedded sensors on board vehicles, smartphones operated by drivers on the road and operating staff at remote locations will continuously capture, inform and share real time data. The IOT will integrate the data supplied by diverse devices and record a real time position with regard to deliveries and warehouse inventories.
Sensors monitor the temperatures of special critical consignments of food and drugs where control of ambient temperatures is of the essence of the contract. Variations beyond the specified tolerance limits are reported through IOT allowing for the implementation of timely curative measures. Beacons expedite the identification of the physical location of consignments in the warehouse making for expeditious delivery to customers.
Warehouse records are a veritable mountain of data which offer tremendous scope for analysis. Advanced analytics tools break down big data and unveil insights that add value to decision making, taking into account the pattern of movement of inventory including the regularity, speed, geographical destination and demographics of the customers. Advanced analytics is equipped to extract diverse reports from the dashboard, alerting management to marketing insights and consumer preferences that are not apparently visible.
Machine learning, in tandem with advanced analytics, will lead to conversion of seemingly meaningless agglomerated data into business intelligence. The pattern of inflow ordering, inventory management based on demand forecasting, and predictive assessment of consumer ordering volumes will be prompted by holistic supply chain management.
The harnessing of cloud technology by fleet management companies holds out the possibility of contracts for leasing of containers and vehicles being struck on a first-come-first-served basis reducing the turnaround time to the barest minimum. With virtually no investment in IT infrastructure, fleet operators could redeploy productive assets through the responses to reactive opportunity that cloud offers on a pay-per-user basis.
The IOT and mobile apps will inevitably lead to an expansion of the boundaries of data sharing. Protection of the vulnerabilities of passengers and cargo has become increasingly important. The software and IT architecture will need to be robust enough to thwart any assault – cyber or physical. The security mechanism implemented by the solution provider would need to be end to end, to monitor, identify and limit any perceived threat. Periodic security audits and surprise testing must be an integral part of the solution.
The logistics industry is being increasingly prompted by governments to weigh up its costs not only in terms of monetary implications but to also factor in the social and environmental costs. Restrictions on carriage through residential precincts to minimize pollution, call for route optimization. The use of drones to map the ideal route taking into account regulatory prescriptions and traffic conditions will minimize fuel consumption, boost on schedule deliveries, reduce driver fatigue and improve turnaround time of fleet assets.