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Taking the Pulse of Wearables, IoT and Analytics for Freight Transportation

Manufacturing industry is struggling more than ever in a rapidly changing market and technologies. To keep ahead of the competition, business leaders need to think about how to drive innovation and business growth with the emerging technologies to maximum productivity and minimized response time to customers.

What does this mean for a transportation company who plays a role between manufacturers and end customers? They need to optimize routes, resource and process to provide high quality freight transportation services and meet the customers’ needs.

There are two main flows in a transportation company – data and information flows and physical flow of goods. Wearables which connect IoT devices with business data analytics seems an ideal tool to optimize the two flows in freight transportation. For example:

  • IoT devices – Offer data and states from the working environment in real-time
  • Data Analytics – Collect and analyze the collected data, and formulate responses to events
  • Wearables – Provide real-time communication between the transportation company and employees, acquiring contextual information and task status changes

How wearables can be used to optimize freight transportation in the near future? Following are some example applications:

Receipt of the transfer order

The data of the jobs, including the quantity, dimensions, weight, commodity type and other important standards and requirements for transportation are recorded and can be accessed at different levels in the transportation company’s system.

Inventory management

The inbound and outbound inventories can be accessed by managers to track and follow the current location of the goods, prepare for any delay, and quickly react to customer’s inquiry and demand.

Planning of transportation

The use of wearable enable logistics staff quickly access transportation standards and regulations such as cooling and safety requirements. In addition, transportation routing can also be optimized. For example,  if an additional pick-up location is added, the system can recommend a best truck or driver to inform for the task, and the feedback from the driver and truck state (e.g. location and service condition) will allow more options to optimize routing and scheduling.

Collection of goods

The truck drivers could scan job order bar codes with the wearables to confirm a pickup and the data of the order will immediately be transferred back to the company. All these works can be completed with two free hands (no scanner or tablet required).

Storage of the goods

Wearables can be used to streamline productivity of warehouse. For example, truck drivers can make an loading/unloading request to the warehouse and can access the information about a warehouse state and the truck’s priority. The flow of goods can then be optimized by avoiding several trucks arriving at the warehouse the same time.

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