In today’s interconnected world, the internet of things (IoT) presents an array of opportunities for various industries. With customers demanding real-time updates on the status of shipments, and businesses looking for assurance that their goods and items are being transported in pristine and safe conditions, logistics firms are increasingly looking for IoT-enabled solutions to optimize efficiency and network utilization.
A new research from HERE Technologies, conducted in partnership with global consulting firm, Frost & Sullivan, reveals that over a third of logistics companies in the Asia Pacific (APAC) region are considering IoT investment in the next two years. Other technologies they are looking at is warehouse automation and electric vehicles.
Over half of the logistics companies are also leveraging map-based solutions with real-time location data for fleet tracking, the research notes, which polled IT decision makers from six countries across APAC, including, Australia, India, Indonesia, Japan, Singapore and Thailand.
The research shows that Covid-19 has disrupted, and revealed vulnerabilities in supply chains, putting logistics companies still relying on traditional systems at a disadvantage. With multiple moving parts within the supply chain, these companies are exploring connected systems and vehicles to improve their fleets, asset tracking, and shipment monitoring.
“Digital disruption is taking place in the logistics industry, and traditional approaches will no longer work. This research demonstrates that companies in Asia Pacific are welcoming future technologies to help them build resilient and efficient supply chains and drive their business forward,” said Janesh Janardhanan, Practice Area Leader – Asia Pacific, Supply Chain & Logistics, Frost & Sullivan.
While GPS, RFID and QR codes are commonly used in fleet management, IoT is swiftly gaining popularity with 21% of respondents having adopted it. Two out of five logistics companies will be implementing IoT solutions across all assets over the next two years, it said.
Combining IoT with location data and location-based services can help logistics companies achieve real-time tracking. With this, companies can reduce issues and misplacement of assets while improving operational efficiency. This is especially important for condition-sensitive shipments such as cold chain items and dangerous goods, with the study indicating:
Over a third (36%) of logistics companies use IoT to monitor cold chain items and a third (33%) use IoT to monitor dangerous goods, with 30% using it to monitor solid/liquid bulk shipments. Also, a fifth (20%) of them uses IoT to monitor courier, express and parcel shipments, as per the study.
Logistics companies are moving beyond traditional methods of route planning as the APAC region continues to feel the effects of Covid-19. Real-time events that happen daily can impact route planning and delivery times. Companies are considering logistics service delivery and asset tracking solutions to tackle these challenges, with the research report revealing that 77% of respondents want to achieve better route planning and real-time routing.
Three quarters (75%) say they want the convenience of real-time vehicle tracking and data reporting. They would also like to use these tracking solutions to achieve improved capacity planning, trend visibility and forecasting. In the region, over two-thirds of the decision makers hope to gain improved efficiency in fleet utilization and productivity, with the same proportion aiming to increase customer satisfaction with fleet tracking solutions.
In India, close to 56% of logistics companies are already using map-based solutions with real-time location data for shipment monitoring. The data shows that IoT is gaining momentum, especially in fleet management, with 11% of logistic companies currently using the technology.
According to the report, within the next two years, 38% of companies will be channeling more investments into IoT while 29% and 10% show high interest in warehouse automation and electric vehicles respectively
However, despite wanting to leverage such technologies, logistics companies face challenges in integrating new solutions with their existing infrastructure. To overcome this, companies often turn to the cloud with findings indicating that logistics companies show a strong preference for cloud-based solutions. Half of the respondents are looking to deploy cloud shipment monitoring solutions in the next two years, while 27% are likely to opt for a hybrid setup.
“Our white paper shows that in today’s connected world, optimizing your supply chain is critical. Only companies that invest in digital technologies to achieve end-to-end visibility will succeed,” said Jason Jameson, SVP and General Manager, APAC, HERE Technologies.
“By leveraging map-based solutions with real-time location data, companies will see benefits to their fleet management and shipment monitoring. Coupled with IoT and by using cloud-based solutions to bring everything together, companies will find themselves well-placed to be at the forefront of the logistics industry.”
By utilizing cloud platforms, companies can integrate various solutions with their existing ecosystems. This avoids costly system overhauls and allows companies to pay for the cloud services without having to build and maintain a data center. Cloud-based solutions also offer the flexibility to access data anytime and anywhere.