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How IoT can transform logistics and fleet management (Part 1)

November 15, 2017

Tim Sherwood   

Blog contributor

New technologies are enabling digital transformation across industries – and the transport, logistics and fleet management sectors are arguably amongst the biggest beneficiaries. These organisations are already leveraging mobility services, big data and the Internet of Things (IoT) to automate their services, while process management and cloud based applications are revolutionising the sector too.

As is often the case, with disruption comes competition – and we’re seeing new entrants disrupt the transport, logistics and fleet management industries with the introduction of new, more customer-centric business models. Given this changing landscape, it shouldn’t be a question of whether these organisations should embrace digital transformation, but how. We’ve identified four ways for transport, logistics and fleet management companies to make the most of technologies such as IoT to revolutionise their business and make it fit for a digital future. In part 1 of this blog, I’ll talk about the first two.

Business without borders

To fast-track global growth and ensure sustainable cross-border expansion, businesses need the right strategy combined with best-in-class global infrastructure and information tools. In transport, logistics and fleet management, transparency and real-time availability of information is an absolute must. That is why a key priority is mobile connectivity services that can be relied on – wherever in the world the business might expand to. Consistent asset tracking, maintenance data and driver efficiency management, for example, require reliable mobile access for IoT services in each country.

Connectivity alone, however, is of limited value without a full platform management approach, including SIM provisioning, APIs, device management, security, cloud access and data analytics. Only with these end-to-end services in place will a business be all set to accelerate into new markets and geographies. Even better, this foundation puts transport, logistics and fleet management companies in a better position to innovate with new technologies, competitive new services and best-fit business models to generate extra revenue.

Given the setup complexity that global mobile services can bring, this significant challenge is best handled by a single partner who can provide access to global mobile networks and connectivity agreements with multiple network operators – saving the business admin time and hassle.

Enhanced productivity and efficiency

Using digital and IoT can enable seamless, continuous multi-platform collaboration and pave the way to greater efficiency and productivity gains for transport, logistics and fleet management companies.

Take the case of driver downtime – distance and time overruns can cause huge costs for firms. In the US, for example, it’s reported that large logistics firms can lose up to US$515,000 per minute due to idle time for each driver. Avoidable delays in routing and loading can also hit margins hard – and the ever-increasing complexity of supply chain management is turning the pressure up even higher.

Just consider how much more efficient and productive any business can be when employees, partners and customers collaborate seamlessly across platforms, with ubiquitous access to data and applications. So, it’s no wonder these companies are looking to embed more effective IoT connectivity into their supply chain management processes.

When thinking about the future of your logistics or fleet management business, IoT connectivity could pave the way for sustainable growth and greater productivity. In part two of this blog, I will discuss the ways in which IoT can enhance customer experience, and a the considerations needed when thinking about cyber-security.

Read one of my previous blogs on how the Internet of Things is transforming the healthcare industry.