With an overall experience of 28 years in the logistics industry, Mr. Kaizad Palia has expertise in Transport Logistics Management, Material Management, and Warehousing Management. At SEROS Logistics, Mr Kaizad is responsible for 3PL & CNG/LNG Logistics operations. He started his career as a Trainee in Essar and was promoted to Head, Surface Logistics. He was responsible for overseeing the entire outbound surface transportation of Essar Steel’s finished goods in the domestic market and various ports across India for the international market.
Like every other industry, the logistics sector was also affected by the global pandemic and is gradually adapting to the digital-first approach. While digitization was already prevalent, COVID-19 accelerated it further. The logistics sector is one of the highly unorganized markets, and owing to the pandemic, the entire ecosystem, especially the cargo management, faced several roadblocks.
The advent of new technologies invalidated the age-old approaches in the industry and created a need for modernization. Traditionally, creating a dashboard for cargo visibility and vehicle tracking was uncommon. However, several processes were manually tracked in the warehousing and transport industry in India. Why? Because the scale of business was much smaller and mainly managed by family members. But today, the sector is huge and currently valued at $215 billion. Moreover, it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 6% between 2021 to 2026.
With the increase in business scale, a need to professionally manage inventory at various levels and provide real-time tracking became a necessity than a luxury.
How technologies are helping in effective cargo management
Technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) are being leveraged by big and small players in the industry to provide end-to-end intelligent logistics solutions.
Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
An essential thing in the industry is to improve delivery time and reduce mistakes. That’s where technologies like Barcoding, GPS tracking, and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) step in. RFID is one innovation that is widely used in supply chain and logistics technology as its efficient and saves time and money.
Attaching an RFID tag or sensor on the product makes it possible to track and monitor its placement, thus making it traceable throughout the shipment. RFID tags are often used in warehouses for monitoring containers as well as products. Not only it allows 24/7 monitoring, it eliminates the possibility of human errors. The employees can check a gamut of products simultaneously, as they can read hundreds of tags together, reducing the management time considerably.
Similar to RFID tags are barcodes, but the system can read only one code at a time. Barcoding proves an excellent way for small businesses to keep track of their cargo while the bigger players go for the RFID tags. Using technologies like Barcoding, RFID tracking, and GPS tracking while transporting goods, inventory management at manufacturing units and warehouses has brought a significant change in operational efficiency. It has reduced the cost of inventory buildup at plants as well as stockyards.
The adoption of Artificial Intelligence provides insights into a wide range of aspects of logistics – from warehouse management to demand and supply. AI-powered visual inspections enable special cameras to take photos of the cargo, helping determine the damage (if any) and, hence, identify the corrective action.
Internet of Things (IoT)
Internet of Things is a network of ‘things’ that have software installed on them, connected to the internet. They exchange and transfer data without human interaction in real-time, and therefore, using this technology in cargo management is more beneficial than the organizations think.
Real-time location tracking
IoT will streamline the real-time data of product location and the transport environment. The managers can track the status of inventory, their movement and even control thefts and malpractices. It also helps the logistics companies to monitor goods during shipment, and predicting the delivery time and delays (if any) becomes much more manageable.
- Locating goods in the warehouse
Thanks to the real-time locators, employees can easily track the location of goods in the warehouses. It reduces the effort and time inefficiencies and enables a seamless workflow.
Keeping the clients informed
With such technologies, the companies can keep their clients informed about the process – from readiness to dispatch to cargo visibility while in transit. It increases transparency, thus, helps in building trust among the clients.
Fleet & driver management
With the latest telematics solutions, logistics organizations get varied data – from fuel to driver’s behavior to geographical data. Sensors inside the vehicle detect and inform managers about oil change, and battery replacement, among others. The predictive maintenance work can improve fuel efficiency, thus, save time and reduce costs. IoT in transportation reduces fuel cost by route optimization and improving vehicle utilization rate too.
Safety is one of the big concerns in logistic operations. Through IoT-enabled systems, managers can also monitor driver’s behavior and fatigue. Vehicle monitoring and fatigue management systems are part of the fleet, alerting drivers’ fatigue well in advance. Besides recommendations to reroute and biometric key, the systems also notify drivers about weather warnings and alerts them for fuel monitoring, which, in turn, reduces the delivery time and improves efficiency.
With the number of active internet users expected to grow from 622 million to 900 million by 2025, technological evolution is here to stay. The possibility of using technological advancement in the logistics sector is endless, and the companies will continue to leverage them to remain competitive.