Regularly described as the “next industrial revolution”, the Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly becoming a major developmental cornerstone of the fleet management and transportation industry. With its uses ranging from wearables to pallet sensors, to connectivity between trucks and having Wi-Fi in planes, this omnipresent connectivity of IoT opens up new avenues for businesses to inform new processes that were originally thought of as impossible.
According to the McKinsey Global Institute (MGI), the vehicles of today have the computing power of 20 personal computers, utilize around 100 million lines of programming code and churn out 25 gigabites of data per hour. Data automatically generated by vehicles provide a wellspring of quantitative information that could be harnessed by consultancies and fleet management organizations to develop better strategies for their business.
The MGI also estimates that the global leader in machine data will be the utilities industry, with its vast array of automatic meters, usage trackers, geographical sensors and various monitoring technologies. This dramatic increase in big data is the catalyst for the growth of the global market for connectivity components and services, from €30 billion in 2014 to €170 billion by 2020.
The main factor driving the growth of IoT’s involvement in the global fleet management market is the growing demand for operational efficiency. Though most logistics companies have harnessed technology in their infrastructure, the introduction of IoT opens up more options; such as route optimisation and asset monitoring. This would then lead to fleet efficiencies, reduce deadhead miles which can constitute up to 10 percent of truck miles.
The impetus for companies to harness big data is a very compelling and understandable one. However, there are two pressing issues that hinder efficiency when creating a virtual infrastructure for big data amassment: visualisation and optimisation.
The first hurdle that hinders efficiency for multinational logistics firms is visualisation. Professional fleet managers generally inherit previous fleet operations, which may not include the use of the simplest interface on web or mobile to facilitate management. Large quantities of data are generated rapidly but the lack of a user-friendly interface would mean fleet managers require more time and effort for analysis.
This use of analytics (in this case, data visualisation) is crucial when organizations gather and try to make sense of data generated from connected devices in order to improve the business.
IoT creates value through captured data from connected assets for operational transformation, thus driving the business better. Companies and fleet managers would be able to optimise their workflows to meet business needs in a more methodical way, removing guesswork from the equation and maximising performance outcomes.
One example of a user-friendly interface for accessible data analysis is mapping. Visualisation using mapping tools helps logistics managers and companies approach problems in the form of digital maps rather than restricted data tables and graphs. A visual representation of delivery points on a map will improve efficiency and provide a seamless user experience for both drivers and managers alike.
In the case of Overdrive’s partnership with a leading multinational courier delivery services company, we devised a map drawing tool within a platform interface which allowed the administrator to:
Create boundaries on a map to demarcate zones for different delivery areas
Extract delivery points within each delivery area
Mark cross boundaries between delivery areas
This system also utilized the Singapore Land Authority’s (SLA) OneMap system (also used by Google) to obtain postal code locations and specific delivery points. This would ensure that the driver would obtain the easiest and most accurate route for maximum efficiency.
A user-friendly uploading tool will request for the user to upload delivery points into the system. Overdrive’s sorting algorithm then determines locations of all important points using OneMap before displaying said points in a comprehensive manner.
The process involves automatic pairing of postal codes with mapping solutions to define the accurate location of each delivery point; hence duplication of points between delivery areas is prevented. This also ensures that accurate and speedy driving routes would allow users to deliver goods with ease.
New fleet managers might inherit old operational methods, which may encompass replacement policy, vehicle selection, personal use or safety. In the context of multinational logistics firms, manual upgrades and workarounds in system maintenance are obstacles preventing the business from making more gainful and relevant investments. The major benefit of utilising IoT and enhancing connectivity within assets has to do with how they enable both predictive and preventative maintenance. When a complete overview of fleet routes and location points at the click of a mouse are seen, patterns that would have otherwise gone unnoticed can be identified. Based on previous routes, drivers and managers will then be able to see trends ahead of time – this creates the immediate benefit of increased asset uptime and reduced cost via improved predicted coordination. This would also enable an organization to achieve improved customer satisfaction without requiring extra effort from management or its workforce.
These benefits have been encapsulated in Overdrive’s collaboration with a particular courier delivery service. The Overdrive Route Manager facilitates quicker route optimisation and scheduling by showing each route plan in a visual map, bolstered with accurate mileage information. Administrators can change and regenerate route plans within seconds, accounting for new information such as additional delivery points and logistical concerns including rest breaks, driving skills, time constraints and layovers.
We have also included a function which allows flexibility for users to modify and perfect their route plan with features such as route locking and best-fit functions.
IT’S ABOUT WORKING SMARTER
The benefits that IoT and connected assets extends far beyond operational efficiency. Its involvement also brings a logistics organization to the next level of maturity, particularly in terms of predictive and preventative maintenance. The data obtained from its fleet not only gives upper management more visibility into the current health and status of assets and manpower, but also allows their staff to complete their transactions with ease and flexibility.
Smarter and more informed decisions can be made in real-time with the involvement of IoT in fleet and logistics management. Connected assets and manpower create an ecosystem where every member of a company can work smarter with greater efficiency, putting organizations in a better position to mitigate risk from supply chain disruption that costs businesses an estimated USD$5,600 per minute. This results in better and more efficient uses of available resources and allows management executives to predict and prevent asset failure today and downtime tomorrow.
For further information on how we can help your business with IoT, please do not hesitate to contact us using the following methods:
Address: 100E Pasir Panjang Road
#04-01 Century Warehouse, Singapore 118521