5 ways where Real-Time Technology makes a Tangible Impact on Logistics and On-field Movement
‘Real-Time Technology’, ‘Big Data Analytics’ and the big daddy of jargons — ‘Internet of Things (IoT)’, aren’t really exotic anymore — companies have been at loggerheads trying to figure ways to milk them since 2013. So what are these buzzwords all about? Read on for a crash course on the holy grail of Real-Time Technology with respect to logistics and supply chain management.
Now, as we all know — there are only two assured ways to impact the bottom line in any company across any industry positively (unless of course, you run a negative gross margin model — in which case you are doomed any which way) — increase revenues or decrease costs. Decreasing costs is a function of increasing efficiencies — and one of the lowest lying fruits to target is logistics.
Logistics is the management of the movement of goods. The term ‘Logistics’ is derived from the Greek work ‘logistike’, closest translation for which is — the art of calculating. Real-Time services provide real -time data in cycles timed to seconds that can be received, analyzed, and integrated into operational activities at any time and in any location. This enables companies to add in the ‘calculations’ to ‘movements’ and the results are tangible and extensive. Key activities within the function that allow increased efficiencies through Real-Time Technology include Real-Time tracking of shipments, warehouse capacity optimization, asset maintenance, route optimization, predictive planning, improved last-mile delivery and so on.
We catalogue here 5 major ways in which ‘Real-Time Technology’ makes a tangible impact on logistics and on-field movement:
In a nutshell — this empowers you to have complete visibility of assets and updates on the location of the consignment in miniscule intervals, information on the speed of the vehicle, battery percentage, alerts if the package is stuck, etc. Think of it as a continuous CCTV on your goods which allows you to micro-manage like never before — and what is even more exciting is the fact that Big Data Analytics and Internet of Things (IoT) automates your micro-management freeing up your time while allowing you to maintain complete control. A global leader in Supply Chain Logistics — GlaxoSmithKline with its GSK Production System (GPS) identifies and eliminates the root causes of accidents, defects and waste using real-time tracking.
We live in an age of “on-demand deliveries”. In the race to acquire customers — the e-commerce companies have spoilt us silly with their delivery promises. Our expectations know no bounds with expectations of delivery within time periods we ourselves could not achieve without the aid of personal jets as carriages. But what makes such service levels actually feasible is the application of Real-Time Technology to manage and optimize deliveries in Real-Time and automate the processes based on the nearest available delivery boy.
Artificial intelligence is no longer a phenomenon to marvel at in slick celluloid thrillers. Real-Time data assimilation and subsequent processing enabled by the Internet of Things (IoT) allows artificial intelligence solutions to be available at the ground level. Companies like P&G are embedding sensors in some of its products to gather insights into consumer behavior and intelligence software solutions work on this data to devise strategies based on the same.
Gone are the days of price wars between giants like Coke and Pepsi to lock in customers. Companies like PepsiCo now differentiate themselves on the basis of their distribution network. This is possible thanks to Real-Time direct store delivery networks which supports their hyper-local marketing, including tailored assortments and perimeter displays at the right store at the opportune time to drive sales.
Risk management is extremely crucial in the supply chain where operations are run Just-In-Time or where valuable materials and cargo are managed. Real-time information allows enhanced asset control and theft reduction. Changes in the condition or integrity of transported goods allows immediate intervention to mitigate risks. This is especially useful for the cold supply chain where delays and machine downtimes can ruin entire cargos.
We see here that an integration of Real-Time information into intelligent and interactive analytics frameworks enables additional business capabilities, increases operational efficiency, and boosts customer satisfaction. When Real-Time Technology marries the traditional logistics function — operational calculations can be done Now, based on big data flowing in through the IoT and subsequently corrective actions can be taken on the go — the result is an agile operation that iteratively and proactively corrects itself.