What is the Internet of Things? The Internet of Things is the network of devices such as vehicles, and home appliances that contain electronics, software, actuators, and connectivity which allows these things to connect, interact and exchange data. IoT exists everywhere. That includes TMS’s like TruckHub. But, how does the connectivity of the IoT affect TruckHub and logistics as a whole? Well, to give a brief example, think of a GPS. In order for a GPS to work it needs to be connected to a satellite. That connection also needs to go both ways so the satellite can see the GPS device. So, what would happen if the connection didn’t exist?
The same thing that would happen if a TMS like TruckHub can’t see its drivers, dispatchers, and shippers. The system(s) wouldn’t work. Systems like a GPS or TMS need the IoT to connect separate parts of a working “machine”. These connections are vital, as well as, ever growing. Let’s put these connections in perspective: a 2016 Gartner report predicted that 8.4 billion connected things would be in use worldwide in 2017, but would continue to grow to over 20.4 billion by 2020. However, the number is much higher.
Statista.com has reported that the number of connected things has reached 23.14 billion by the end of 2018. The IoT is a strength and its connectivity is its source.
What does real-time information mean? Real-time information means getting updates instantly on your digital platforms. Thanks to the IoT this is possible. Real-time information is the pillar that holds up the temple of TruckHub. Real-time information has been scarce in short distance shipments. However, as time has passed and technology has advanced that’s become a thing of the past.
The IoT used to only benefit long-distance shipments. The gap between LTL and ocean/air shipments has closed and the IoT is the reason. Furthermore, were it not for the eCommerce boom, the gap would have never been closed. LTL is vital to short delivery times on packages from eCommerce sites. So, the IoT has been adapted to meet the needs of the many. TruckHub sees similar needs in shippers, dispatchers, and drivers. By using the IoT it aims to give its users the agency need to make well thought out, time-based decisions. All of these decisions are also made in real-time.
Of course, real-time updates add another useful benefit to your friendly neighborhood TMS. That benefit is visibility. There’s no way to fix a problem if you don’t even know it exists. Thanks to these real-time, IoT benefits then visibility is no longer an issue. The moment a problem/job appears everyone in the network is notified. This wouldn’t be possible without the IoT. That also doesn’t just apply to external factors. Internal factors also need to be considered. For example, when an internal issue appears that is affecting the external side of operations then the connectivity between the two will allow for a quicker resolution. This allows all parts of the development process to have a bird’s eye view of issues. A TMS like TruckHub is meant to simplify the supply chain process. Thanks to the IoT the process is not only able to be simplified step by step, but it’s also able to simplify the supply chain process job by job.
Connectivity is the most important piece of the IoT. Without the connectivity that the modern IoT offers it wouldn’t help with visibility or be able to provide visibility. This core concept of the IoT is what TruckHub aims to make full use of. But why? At this point it’s obvious. The strengths of this connection are critical. Let’s take a quick look at the delivery process as an example. The moment the package arrives at a warehouse everyone is notified.
Next, the package is loaded onto a truck for delivery and everyone is notified. During the transit of the package, everyone is notified of the time it will take for delivery, as well as, be notified of any delays that take place while en route. Lastly, everyone is notified of when the package arrives at its destination. This connectivity is the benefit. It’s constantly moving information and real-time visibility of all facets of the logistics/supply chain process.
Now, what are other, more indirect, benefits are given by the IoT? First, it gives a higher potential financial gain? Well, supply chains need visibility to make informed decisions that allow for the most optimized processes. These decisions can have a massive financial impact on supply chains that take advantage of the IoT. Inventory management also gets enhanced. The real-time capabilities of IoT monitor inventory accurately.
Also, as previously mentioned, efficiency gets a much-needed boost in every facet of the supply chain process. Furthermore, consumer engagement increases. For example, TruckHub connects all dispatchers, shippers, and drivers to use it and they are all able to communicate concerns in real-time. Aside from digital visibility, the IoT also offers literal visibility. The cameras connected to the IoT offer safety and security to locations that house them. Now, these aren’t all the benefits offered by the IoT. However, they are arguably the most beneficial to supply chain management.
The future is bound to give the IoT even more benefits. It will most likely have even more variable uses. This article didn’t even discuss the possibilities that discuss artificial intelligence. That’s an entire topic that’s worth more than enough hypothetical discussion. Who knows what else will be developed in the future as well? It isn’t just a discussion about what new apps can be developed or how can AI be implemented. It’s also a discussion about what new, unthought of advancements in technology can be added to the Internet of Things. What automated processes can simplify complex ones? Will changes in transportation technology affect supply chain visibility and TMS functionality? It’s all connected. That connection affects all of its ends. The IoT is ever-expansive, ever-changing, and ever-beneficial.
For more up-to-date information on what TruckHub is and more follow us weekly at TruckHub.