How the internet of things (IoT) will make freight shipping more efficient

October 29, 2018

As manufacturing, transportation and almost every aspect of society progresses with modern advances, the dependency on the Internet of Things (IoT) expands and impacts our everyday lives. By the year 2020, there will be 25 billion connected devices in use, representing a 30-fold increase over today.

Due to the IoT's rapid growth, small and medium-sized business models will be inclined to keep pace. We're certain to realize its value within logistics soon. Let's look at how the IoT can drive overall productivity and make freight shipping more efficient.



The IoT utilizes radio frequency identification (RFID), composed of a chip, a reader and database, along with cloud-based GPS systems, which makes it possible to keep track of individual items and their condition. With the combination of RFID and the IoT, chips can communicate with each other.

With this technology, shipments could be received automatically, bar codes would not have to be scanned before warehousing items and shipping products would become simplified.

By enabling devices to speak among each other, the IoT can help supply chains to decrease asset loss. Product issues would be identified early on to find a solution and fuel cost would be cut as fleet routes are optimized with monitored traffic status.


Rapid service.


Sensor-equipped trucks and GPS technology enable further supply chain productivity. Such technology has the power to tell corporate maintenance facilities when trucks need service for their brakes, tires, oil or any other critical systems. When maintenance crews receive this information well in advance - truck companies can avoid the extra expense of road repairs.

This is made possible through the rise of mobile computing, consumerization of Information Technology, 5G networks and big data analytics - all of which are applied to IoT practices.

Plus, this will directly tie into the advances in automation the industry is already seeing. Increased automation will make way for increased trackability of shipments. Now, you’ll be able to track your shipment in real time, making you hyper aware of any delays along the way.


Enhanced accessibility of data.

The Industrial Internet allows manufacturers already using new software functions to improve operational efficiency through predictive maintenance - resulting in less cost for scheduled repairs (12 percent), decreased maintenance cost (30 percent) and fewer breakdowns (about 70 percent).

Additionally, automotive suppliers can take advantage of intelligent transmission systems that continuously track and analyze a commercial truck driver's habits with geographical data to signal vehicle transmissions when exactly to change gears. This ultimately allows shipping to be powered by transmissions that last longer while using less fuel.

Having real-time information through IoT data proves to be a real advantage. Being able to access information instantly versus downloading data from a truck, which can take hours or even days, results in less time at weigh stations and more time on the road.


Fuel efficiency.

IoT data provides unique insight on fuel efficiency in relation to how drivers are using the brakes in their trucks. Recommendations on the optimal speed of transport for certain road surfaces to get the most mileage out of a gallon of fuel is one of the ways IoT data could be used to improve today's shipping efficiency. 

Optimizing asset utilization through IoT best practices not only helps drive overall productivity, it also enables companies to be fuel efficient. In fact, a study of two linked trucks recently showed 7 percent in fuel savings, with the lead truck cutting down fuel use by 4.5 percent and the rear truck by 10 percent. Ideally, trucks from different fleets can come together and meet on the highway to share safety, fuel and environmental benefits - and could become the basis for an automated highway system.


Final thoughts.

Just as manufacturers, transportation professionals and shippers can benefit from the advances of the Internet of Things, shippers can continue to get the most competitive rates through advanced online tools.

To learn more about how Freightquote by C.H. Robinson could simplify your shipping, start quoting today.


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