How to stay connected to your assets and inventory with IoT
Whether it’s trucks and inventory, or machinery, tools and containers, or buildings and worksites, staying on top of your key company assets is vital. To maximize the efficiency of your operations, success depends on tracking their location, status and other factors.
Across industries, companies use IoT technology to meet the need for asset visibility throughout dispersed operations—and in what are often complex supply chains—gaining valuable information in real-time.
Here are three ways IoT helps enhance how you manage your assets.
Imagine not having to ask, “Where exactly is my shipment?”, “Will delays mean my customer’s produce delivery might spoil?” or, “Where are the tools that I need for this job?” IoT takes the guesswork out of asset management and, in real time, can track the precise location of:
- Vehicles, trailers
- Containers, boxes, bins and pallets
- Tools and heavy machinery
This kind of information gives you valuable insight which can inform your decisions. For example, route- and transit-time heat mapping can help you pinpoint the most frequented routes, or those with the fewest delays. Likewise, distance efficiency trends help you understand how many hours goods are being hauled each day and how efficiently. Other data such as asset location tracking can quickly flag if your customer’s goods were mistakenly put on a truck headed in the opposite direction. And, planned versus actual ETA analytics allow you to compare actual performance against SLAs.
Using IoT to track asset location is invaluable for companies with multiple work sites, large fleets, or organizations focused on deliveries. Knowing where assets are at any given time can improve efficiencies, reduce downtime and meet—or exceed—customer expectations.
If you are supplying feed to a farm operator, for example, you can provide a precise delivery time rather than a six- or even eight-hour window. This kind of accuracy increases your company’s dependability, which allows your customer to plan around deliveries.
Asset conditions – onsite or on the go
Damaged, spoiled or faulty assets can negatively impact customer satisfaction or rack up replacement costs. But the ability to monitor the condition of assets and send alerts before they get worse or fail completely can be a difference maker.
For example, IoT sensors can ensure cold chain integrity is maintained by monitoring the temperature and humidity of a container while in transit. This way, your entire shipment of dairy products won’t be spoiled due to an en-route refrigeration issue. By providing real-time insight, your driver can either immediately fix the issue or call for a replacement vehicle.
As regulatory compliance requires increasingly granular reporting detail, IoT automates and digitizes manual efforts, helping to ensure nothing is overlooked or improperly recorded.
IoT also helps managers in warehouses track the working conditions of forklifts and other machinery, and monitor potential issues for inventory, including vibration, pressure, light and tilt. IoT can help you identify and tackle condition issues before they escalate, which can mean a significant cost savings.
Assets are only beneficial when they’re in use—idle machinery, equipment, tools or vehicles aren’t helping to drive revenue. IoT tracking can help ensure that assets are appropriately and adequately utilized as well as safely and properly stored.
Consider equipment in a warehouse or on construction sites. Knowing exactly where a jackhammer, a tile cutter or a concrete mixer is located assists resource planning, and minimizes time spent searching for the right tool.
Similarly, IoT can identify if an asset is over-utilized. If one asset, such as a forklift, is consistently used while others are idle, the wear on the overused equipment—and the need for maintenance—will be significant. IoT enabled sensors can balance usage and better keep assets in prime working condition.
IoT can also help maximize the usage of a work environment, as free space in any work area comes at a premium. Additionally, it can assist in tracking and monitoring inventory quantities. Too much inventory can result in storage issues, product expiration, or floor space inefficiency. Too little, and operations can grind to a halt.
From manufacturing and agri-business to building maintenance, consumer goods and construction, IoT is changing the way we manage assets. Whether you’re managing inventory in transit or on worksites, IoT solutions reduce operational risks and minimize time lost on manual and paper efforts.
For more information on how to maximize asset management, see Asset Tracking at the Speed of Business.