Every industry faces unique challenges every day. Logistics companies face their own set of challenges that can make it difficult for employees to do their job. Your company doesn’t have to succumb to those challenges. In fact, it’s easier than you may think to overcome them by using technology.
What are the 3 Biggest Supply Chain Challenges?
Most logistics companies are using the same methods and processes today that they were using 20 or 30 years ago. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” but that’s not always the best mindset to have. Companies might be comfortable with the manual tracking they’ve always done, but it isn’t efficient. Each person performing the manual tracking process puts their own spin on it, and sometimes that spin can lead to wrong or incomplete information. If each person that performs a process does it differently, the results will be inconsistent. For example, Company A has a process in place for employees to fill out a spreadsheet in a specific way. If an employee is behind schedule and rushing, he may not fill out all the fields and say to himself, “I’ll finish it later,” but when later rolls around, he forgets. With these inconsistencies, mistakes are made, and data becomes unreliable. When you have unreliable data, you can’t make informed decisions. To top it off, manual tracking takes significantly longer than automated tracking.
Lack of Visibility
Lacking visibility is a massive problem a lot of logistics companies face. Once containers full of material or inventory leave your facility, you don’t know where it is. Some companies have processes in place where the driver provides an update every stop or every so many hours. The reliance on a driver is risky, and it causes blindspots during transport.
Having any blindspot in your supply chain leaves space for obstacles, and as companies grow larger, so do the number of obstacles they face. Small companies still experience issues relating to visibility even though their operation scales are smaller. A blindspot can come from inconsistent tracking as discussed above. If pallets haven’t been signed in or out, and they’re not in the proper storage location, you have no way to find them quickly. Spending an hour searching for them sets you back on shipping and other processes. How much time would you save if you could find out the location of a pallet the minute you need to use it?
Lack of Communication
How well a company communicates amongst itself can help or hurt the overall performance of a company. It’s becoming more difficult to communicate with the growing complexities of supply chains. A company’s goal is to provide a product or service to its customers. If there is miscommunication among employees, it can get in the way of providing value to the customer. This is relevant even across seemingly independent stages. If the manufacturing plant doesn’t properly communicate with the warehouse or distributors, miscommunication can occur and issues can arise.
Miscommunication can even happen on the road. It’s not possible to predict what road conditions will be like. Unexpected things happen daily, and management should know if there’s a delay. Maybe a driver got stuck in traffic because of an accident a few miles up the road. He’s not sure how long traffic will last, but he hopes not for long. He doesn’t communicate with his manager, so the manager is unaware of the delay. After an hour of sitting, the driver can continue, but the delay sets him back, and he can’t make his stop like he’s supposed to. The customer calls the warehouse manager, upset, and asks why his delivery didn’t arrive on time. After all, the customer also has a business to run. The warehouse manager doesn’t know why there was a delay because he didn’t even know there was one. Simple communication could’ve prevented this issue altogether. Whether it’s forgetfulness or a wrong choice, communication is an issue that causes a domino effect of issues.
Increase Your ROI by Investing in AirFinder Everywhere
- Loss Prevention. Reduce the amount of loss that occurs during the supply chain process
- Location Coverage. AirFinder Everywhere uses a combination of GPS, Cellular, and WiFi to determine location everywhere
- Security Alerts. Know when a delay in shipment has occurred so the problem
can be addressed immediately.
How Do You Overcome Logistics Challenges with IoT?
IoT technology is largely becoming the go-to for logistics companies looking to overcome these everyday challenges they’re facing. IoT addresses the three main challenges discussed above and even more. Inconsistent tracking will become a thing of the past if you use an IoT solution like a real-time location system (RTLS). RTLS completely automates all parts of tracking assets and even stores the data. This way, there will be no human error hurting the reliability of the data. The tracking that an RTLS does provides real-time visibility of your company’s entire supply chain. Having real-time visibility additionally fills in the communication gaps your company is facing. If you can see where the assets are, you can know if a delay has occurred so you can tell the customer about the delay before they find out.
What Other Challenges can RTLS Solve?
RTLS solutions help logistics companies enhance their procedures. By tracking processes, managers can find areas of weakness so they can improve them. A great example of this is delivery times. Think about whether the routes your drivers are taking are the most efficient. An RTLS asset tracking system can help you find out. If the route isn’t efficient, you can make deliveries quicker and save on fuel by changing to a different route.
Warehouse managers have a lot on their hands. Managing large warehouses is nearly impossible to do manually. Automation and visibility help to better manage the warehouse. Ultimately, RTLS helps companies cut costs. Knowing which areas to improve in reduces extra costs and knowing the location of valuable assets, like shipping containers, leads to fewer replacements.
How Will You Overcome Challenges?
Challenges, unfortunately, come with business, but you can overcome them simply by investing in IoT. IoT asset tracking systems were created to help logistics companies overcome the challenges they face on a daily basis.
Link Labs offers an IoT asset tracking solution that tracks the location of your most important assets indoors and outdoors. Our solution, AirFinder, provides real-time tracking and visibility of your supply chain from start to finish. To learn more about how AirFinder is helping logistics companies overcome their challenges, book a demo with us.