I’ve written before about what to consider when choosing an IoT systems vendor, and about the four aspects of IoT needed to deliver on the promised benefits. So this time I’ll get into specifics and look at why you should invest in an IoT-based monitoring system for cold chain logistics in the first place?
Simply put, IoT is basically the only thing that can deliver actionable real-time data in an easy and cost-efficient way. Here are 5 reasons why real-time information has never been more topical and even needed than now:
1. To correct problems as they appear
You can’t fix a thing if you don’t know it needs fixing. So, for example, what if your cold chain breaks halfway and you only learn about it afterwards? Well, you’ve just expended a lot of effort and resources to transport what is effectively waste. Perhaps you can salvage and repurpose some of it, but on the whole, you’ll be making a loss.
Now if instead you knew at the exact moment, or even before, that something was about to go wrong, would you wait until the shipment arrives until seeing what can be done? Of course not! You’d be acting right away to mitigate any harm. That’s what real-time IoT data can give you.
2. To stay ahead of regulation
Once something is possible, it can also be a requirement. Globally speaking, regulations keep demanding more and more visibility and transparency into supply chains, particularly into the cold chain.
Now with better technology come better abilities to monitor all aspects of the supply chain in real time. This is bound to influence regulatory bodies in their work.
Leaving implementation of real-time monitoring until the time it becomes mandatory is of course possible, but adopting new processes and technologies on a rapid schedule is not the easiest thing to do. And regulatory head start is only one of the benefits of adopting real-time systems.
3. To extend the life of your current system
It’s likely this won’t be the first time a new technology is going to disrupt your business. So, what will happen to your existing tech if you suddenly decide to start getting all your data in real time? You’ll have paid a decent amount of money for that, too.
There’s no reason to worry, though; for once you can have your cake and eat it, too. The beauty of real-time IoT is that it is not just about bringing in new tech to replace an existing one. It is also perfectly possible to connect your existing systems to a real-time enabling device. So, if you happened to have a temperature monitoring system in your cold storage, then you’d integrate it with the new real-time solution and suddenly have real-time data that you actually always had, but just couldn’t access before now.
This will not only extend the life of the older tech, it will also make implementation easier and provide new efficiency to old processes.
4. To deliver excellent customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction isn’t just about the driver smiling on delivery. It’s a combination of stakeholder collaboration, quality management and transparency throughout.
The last mile in particular has been challenging for logistics due to a number of reasons, one of those being how difficult it is to ensure the quality of box-level shipments. Real-time monitoring that can be executed simply and effectively can answer this dilemma with the kind of problem correction described in the first point.
And when real-time transparency between stakeholders will ensure quality up to and into last mile, your customer cannot but be satisfied with the service you provide.
5. To simplify subcontractor transparency
Talking about stakeholders and drivers, do you know your subcontractors are performing on the level they ought to? Trust is all well and good (until it’s breached), but actual transparency is much easier to work with.
And of course, if you happen to be a pharmaceutical manufacturer or a wholesaler, you really need to know what is going on in order to be ready for audits, or risk the threat of non-compliance.
Real-time information on subcontractor performance makes it much easier to make sure everything is going to plan, and act accordingly if this should change.
So there you have it: 5 reasons why you should invest in a real-time system for you logistics monitoring. And these were only the first 5 to come to mind; check back in about a month to learn 5 more.