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How to Optimize Your Supply Chain with IoT

Optimally configuring your supply chain for fleet operations requires having the knowledge necessary to make informed decisions that impact efficiency. It also demands also staying up-to-date on events on the ground so that your organization can adapt to changes as they occur.  Up until now, fleet managers have often been working through hindsight to pinpoint areas to increase efficiency within their operations. 

Trial and error methods have resulted in higher efficiency operations over time. However, to reach those levels of efficiency requires manpower and resources that can be costly.  Adapting to changing conditions on the ground is frequently conducted in an ad-hoc manner, and most often results in delays in delivery times for your supplies and drivers.

The most effective method of addressing both long-term efficiency while maintaining operational flexibility is manage fleet operation using Internet of Things (IoT) technology. IoT systems bring two significant advantages to fleet operations:

  • They are cost-effective, quick to implement, and can be adapted to both large and small fleet operations, and
  • The real-time data gathering power allows your organization to quickly adapt to changing conditions on the ground.

Taken together, the flexibility and data collection capability of an IoT fleet management system gives your organization the information it needs to make targeted changes towards more efficient operations. 

An IoT system for fleet operations and management is built around data gathering sensors both affixed to your fleet assets as well as on ground weather stations. These sensors stream location, speed, heading, and hyper-local ground-weather data into cloud-based analytics software that renders complex data into a useable format and subsequently pushes that data to a data dashboard. The delay between when data is gathered and presented to fleet operations staff is negligible, giving management a near real-time, full-fleet view of operational deployment at all times. 

The real-time data generated through an IoT system can have a significant impact on the efficiency of fleet operations on a day-to-day basis. At the most basic level, the information gathered through an IoT network will accurately convey precisely where fleet assets are at any given time.  This data is beneficial for ensuring proper resource allocation and determining accurate delivery times. 

However, an IoT system provides much more than simply pinpointing where your resources are.  The data gathered by the system can help fleet management determine exactly when and where negative events are occurring on the ground. Hyper-local road-weather data gives you the ability to understand road conditions in real-time, giving management the ability to mitigate negative outcomes of inclement weather by quickly rerouting resources. Traffic delays and road construction on delivery routes can similarly be assessed and adapted to before they detrimentally impact operations.  

Implementing an IoT fleet management system also gives your organization access to “big data,” or a scale of data many orders of magnitude larger than traditional systems can generate.  While very few fleet management systems can collect this scale of data, only an IoT system with robust analytics software can quickly and efficiently process that data and render it usable to your management team. Machine-driven analytics accomplish what teams of data analysts did in the past, and with more speed and accuracy. Access to the big data generated through an IoT system empowers management teams with more actionable insights that allow them to make informed decisions that impact operational efficiency. Creating targeted process improvement plans grounded in the data generated through an IoT system ensures that efforts to optimize supply chains are more thoroughly understood, implemented, and result in leaner, more efficient operations. 

Utilizing an IoT fleet management system gives fleet managers the information they need to both adapt day-to-day operations to real world ground conditions, while also generating the data they need to positively impact the efficiency of their operations over the long term.  An IoT fleet management package can be installed quickly and cost effectively, and adapted to the unique needs of your specific fleet. IoT systems also offer the flexibility to expand with your fleet, allowing you to incorporate additional data collection points as your fleet grows and your needs change.  The flexibility of an IoT system is the ideal complement to the realities of fleet operations management, where daily operations require balancing a variety of different resources and assets to ensure optimal deployment and efficient operations.

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