Launch Wisconsin Startups use IoT Technology to Solve Toughest Logistics Problems

Technology and Startups Reform Entire Logistics Industry


With its ever-increasing demand for better supply chain management solutions, the logistics & transportation industry has seen incredible improvements during the IoT upswing. Using “smart” technology to improve core inefficiencies in transportation and logistics spells faster ROI growth for logistics companies than compared to ROI growth in other industries. IoT technology integration can improve logistics management in many sectors of the industry, and many startups are finding innovative new solutions to common logistical problems.


Areas of Technological Advancement

Supply Chain Data Analysis


Supply chain management is a complex industry with many, many variables and lots of room for inaccuracies. Additionally, without IoT communication, supply chain managers often do not receive notification of unforeseen disruptions until it is too late to take action. “It used to be, in [the transportation] industry, for us to find out what happened with a driver and with a vehicle we had to wait for them to come back to the office,” Brian Balius, Saia VP of transportation, said in an interview. “Now we can see these things happening all day long—as they occur.”


Using sensors and IoT connected devices, managers can gain deeper intelligence and more extensive data into their supply chain. Integration of the Internet of Things enables supply chain managers to receive data in real time, allowing them to make accurate time-sensitive decisions and reduce inefficiencies.



Kaa Project – a key IoT driver for the lean supply chain management

Kaa is an IoT platform for smart supply chain solutions. Kaa provides real-time data to allow for efficient fleet management and tracking, as well as end-to-end visibility every step of the delivery process.

“Kaa offers a unified, hardware-agnostic IoT architecture for connecting all possible assets — sensors, items, containers, equipment, vehicles, and employees — so that the entire logistics infrastructure can be tracked and managed as a consolidated business unit.”


Warehouse and Operations


Warehouses are a key factor in transportation and supply chain management. Warehouse and inventory management is a complex task that often entails tedious manual labor and the constant need to track a blur of moving parts. An IoT integrated system would be able to locate products and parts equipt with an RFID tag and sensor and constantly communicate real-time information about their location. Improvements to internal systems and “smart” technologies allow warehouse managers to always have knowledge of their inventory, reduce damage and loss, improve productivity and efficiency, and better plan their warehouse floors’ intake and output.

More on IoT warehouse operations here. http://www.supplychain247.com/article/enter_the_smart_internet_of_things_warehouse/warehousing



ShipHero – Manage Inventory Better, Fulfill Faster, Ship Cheaper

Cloud-based warehouse management software startups like ShipHero allow warehouse managers to always have access to the data and information they need to work quickly and accurately. Because the data is cloud-based, inventory info is always available on any device and is always in sync, from office to warehouse to shipment.

“ShipHero runs in the cloud so you can see exactly what everyone in the warehouse is doing and ensure that everything that needs to be shipped is shipped. And you can see that in real-time, from anywhere, from any device.”




Logistics and transportation currently relies on the Department of Energy Fuel Index to set budgets for fuel costs. By generalizing data and averaging mileage, businesses are unable to precisely manage fuel costs or account for all variables. IoT integration can install location and condition tracking systems into vehicles to accurately predict fuel consumption. Other smart technologies can give real-time insight to geographical variables, fuel taxes at the state level, and real-time fuel pricing. Technology advancements in fuel management allow managers to optimize their supply chains to be leaner and more efficient than ever before.



Breakthrough Fuel – Transportation Technology & Mobile Fuel Management

Real-time fuel management systems like Breakthrough Fuel aim to reduce fuel costs, consumption, and emissions while also providing managers with the dat and fuel insights they need to make accurate decisions. Accuracy in fuel budgets means managers are best able to streamline their supply chain processes and eliminate waste and loss.

“Breakthrough Fuel works to reduce fuel costs, consumption and emissions of the supply chain, all while increasing your transportation fuel insights and savings. Losing the bad. Gaining the good. It doesn’t get much better than that.”


Load Planning and Shipment


In addition to the difficulties in attempting to manage and budget fuel costs, current logistics management tools cannot accurately predict unforeseen problems and delays due to traffic, construction, weather conditions, and many other issues. Without IoT connectivity, planners and managers are not able to receive delay notifications fast enough to react effectively. Successful and effective fleet management stems from the ability to access real-time location data and other information about the state of the vehicle. A manager that is able to foresee construction or delays can make rerouting and replanning decisions quickly and accurately, reducing loss significantly.



GPS Insight – Fleet Intelligence for Your Business

Real-Time fleet management software like GPS insight allows managers to access all real-time and historical activity at all times from any desktop or mobile device. Real-time location information saves costs, reduces loss and missed appointments, and improves process efficiency.

“Our GPS tracking solution will give you the visibility you need to manage your fleet as efficiently as possible while reducing costs, reducing risk, and increasing revenue.”




The Department of Transportation estimates that 75% of professional drivers said they regularly have trouble finding a safe place to park their vehicle when they need to rest, often parking on the shoulder or in abandoned parking lots. Drivers will often continue driving past the legal driving limit in order to find safe parking, increasing the chances of dangerous fatigued driving and the likelihood of accidents or driver error.



University of Minnesota Parking Lot Monitoring System

Nikolaos Papanikolopoulous and his team, funded partially by the Federal Highway Administration, have installed cameras in street lamps in parking lots and rest stops. Image recognition software scans the real-time images and identifies vacant spaces. A computer then transmits that information to signs along the highway. Unlike other automated systems that only use ground- based sensors, Papanikolopoulous’s technology is reportedly 95 percent accurate in its recognition of parking availability.


All of the above are just a few of the many ways in which innovative and agile startups have greatly impacted the logistics industry and will continue to do so as technology advances. Supply Chain as an industry continues to be an excellent candidate for new technologies and advancements, from warehouse management to shipping fulfillment. Many Launch Wisconsin speakers have first-hand experience in developing technologies to streamline transportation.

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