The IoT, or “Internet of Things” is one of the most important and revolutionary developments in our modern everyday lives.

For those who might need a refresher, the IoT refers to the idea that Internet connections no longer have to be via a traditional desktop or laptop computer; connections are now embedded and available in objects like phones or tablets or Kindles, enabling these devices to send and receive data.

And with that newly available technology come new opportunities and new challenges. This means that the logistics of manufacturing companies have had to change with the times in order to keep up. Here are a few areas in which those changes have occurred.

Supply chain efficiency

We know that maximizing the efficiency of your supply chain is an effective way to maintain profitability, but to keep levels of productivity high, that maximization can’t just be in one area of the chain; it has to be comprehensive.

This is where IoT mobile devices such as radio frequency identification (or RFID) and barcode scanners are becoming a big influence on supply chain-related operations. Many companies who have integrated this technology into their operations have seen a vast increase in shipping accuracy, inventory control and order processing, all while reducing labor costs.

Warehousing innovations

The warehouse is the hub of a business’s transportation system, so the efficiency of that warehouse has a direct impact on a business’ expenses.

And thanks to IoT devices that track inventory, maintain warehousing equipment and report on delivery and transportation vehicles, the assets stored inside of a company’s warehouses now have a voice for the first time.

And that’s not all; thanks to the cloud compatibility of these IoT devices, information can be captured and shared across the cloud, making sure that your products are where they’re supposed to be on time and on (or even under) budget.

Fleet management

As we alluded to above, IoT logistics can be a lynchpin of your fleet management systems, and that’s an aspect of your business that you can’t afford to neglect.

There are a lot of factors to consider when you think about the management of the vehicles you use to get your products where they need to go, whether those vehicles move by road, sea, air or rail.

There are maintenance schedules to consider, keeping track of everyday usage of all of your vehicles and creating the best possible routing, all of which have to be done with maximum efficiency and without sacrificing speed.

With mobile scanners and computers and the aforementioned RFID systems, you can now have full visibility of your entire fleet, which allows your company more control than ever before.

And there’s a time-saving factor to consider here, as well. Without the hard copies and manual labor that fleet management required in the past, there’s a decrease in the time spent on administrative tasks and an increase in the speed at which information can be transferred. And the best part is that that information will be transferred to a central database, where it can be easily accessed by your IoT devices.

For more on the IoT, read our post “3 Ways the IoT is Transforming Manufacturing.”