Applications include monitoring and tracking with GPS, RFID and satellite, as well as data logging and machine learning.
The IoT has become a big part of the supply chain and logistics industry. That’s the finding of the new IoT in Supply Chain and Logistics Report compiled by AT&T and Eft Supply Chain Logistics, a business intelligence solution provider.
In a survey of more than 600 supply chain decision makers, 64 percent said they had an IoT strategy in place and 87 percent of respondents said they were also planning to expand their use of IoT technologies. The survey involved responses from logistics providers as well as retailers and manufacturers.
The majority of respondents (60 percent) said they planned or had already deployed IoT monitoring and sensor solutions. Approximately 55 percent said they had or would be deploying RFID or GPS/satellite tracking, and 50 percent said they were deploying bar codes. Roughly 30 percent said they were deploying data logging solutions and just 10 percent were deploying machine learning solutions.
Improved customer service was by far the top reason for embracing the IoT, with the majority of respondents considering that very important. Other reasons given were improved quality control, improved speed, safety compliance, and for real-time insights on shipment and environmental conditions.
The biggest challenges respondents said they were facing included inventory control, consistency of suppliers, handling risks and timeliness of information. Timeliness was marked as a big challenge while the others were considered moderate challenges. The study pointed out that all of these challenges can benefit from an IoT deployment.
Respondents were confident about their ROI. Approximately 69 percent said they expected to see returns within the next 24 months, and 28 percent said they expected those returns to come within the next year.
As expected, security is a big concern. Approximately 64 percent said they considered security a major or moderate threat, while 32 percent marked it as minor. However, respondents didn’t consider the threat grave enough to stop or slow down their IoT investments.