IoT in Logistics: A Necessity

Deepak Sharma, Global IT Director, Agility | Wednesday, 19 July 2017, 13:05 IST

Bring the office to the employee

Agility, one of the world’s leading providers of integrated logistics, successfully rolled out their latest app Agility Scan. The app allows all parties to scan documents during execution of a shipment, making these immediately available to the customer. This is especially use­ful in emerging markets where the availability of the Internet is fragmented.

In the logistics world the time­liness of the document is extremely important. Since in many cases the next step of the work flow are de­pendent in receiving the document on time. The document is imme­diately transmitted to Agility, me­ta-data is captured and the docu­ment stored in our imaging system repository. The system even auto­matically emails the document to the customer if needed. All of this happens within 1 to 2 minutes of a scan!

Compare this to the age-old process of employees having to wait until they reach the office to scan and upload documents. An employee can even email a docu­ment from their phone and it will be processed and stored into the imaging system making it accessi­ble to colleagues and customers.

Where is the office?

The increasing proliferation of In­ternet of Things is creating com­munication channels for the benefit of the consumer and Businesses who choose to harness the technology Employees do not want to be chained to their desks. They want their work to follow them, enabling them to spend more time in the field or work more effectively. Employers benefit from a more flexible and mobile work­force. Agility is leading the way by creating tools which allow the ability to build cen­tralized knowledge verticals. Thus allow­ing for superior customer services whilst lowering costs.

24/7 Customer Service

Agility has leveraged tools like Agility Scan and Agility Delivers to give em­ployees the ability to provide the highest quality of customer service around the clock. Our employees are empowered and can thus provide highest quality ser­vice customers expect regardless of when or where they are located.

Impact of Technological Trends

The underlying trend for all of the above is IoT (Internet of Things). IoT will play a major role in logistics as more compa­nies start adopting it. Customers already want to know where in the world their consignment is at any time. It is not good enough to know on what date and time it left a port. But they also want to know how far it has reached and if it would be there on time. Companies will need to get weather data and forecast possible delays and generate alternatives. It is not just big data that is needed but even more importantly the timeliness of that data. Logistics companies will need to capture data throughout the supply chain, analyze it, make decisions using it and convert it into information and provide the same to customers instantaneously. Customers are not willing to wait for traditional de­lays such as an employee having to get to his office to scan a document.

The role of social media

Social media has created greater transpar­ency in how companies operate. More than ever before, a company’s brand is defined by how it interacts with its cus­tomers, its partners and the communities in which it operates. Companies that ef­fectively address the needs of their stake­holders are being rewarded with positive online reviews and recommendations. Companies that mistreat customers do so at their own peril.

Taking a Leap Forward

Several new technological breakthroughs are around the corner. The driverless car. Delivery through drones. Sun-fueled cars and houses. The list goes on. In such a dynamic environment the oldest business in the world also needs to stay up with the times. Logistics companies are becoming technology companies. Long gone are the days where IT could simply focus on implementing requirements provided by the business. CIOs must help business leaders understand how technology dis­rupts their industry and the opportunities and value they bring. With Agility Scan, IT recognized the true value that a mo­bile app could bring, and proposed the idea to the business who quickly grasped its benefits.

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