With the industrial internet of things set to contribute close to $14.2 trillion to the global economy by 2030, according to estimates from Accenture, it's no surprise that companies in nearly every commercial industry have started looking for new opportunities to leverage embedded technologies.The data-driven insights generated through IIoT deployments have become indispensable to supply chains around the world, helping to drive continued innovation, stimulate productivity gains and enhance operational flexibility.
While many industries have taken a slow-roll approach to IIoT implementation, the package delivery sector has achieved significant growth thanks to the early adoption efforts of companies like UPS and FedEx, which took track-and-trace delivery services to the next level by outfitting their vehicles with real-time monitoring capabilities.
How ecommerce drives innovation in package delivery
The rising popularity of ecommerce has had a notable impact on how package couriers operate. Consumers have come to expect accurate delivery time estimates for their digitally purchased goods, though the logistics behind this feature involve a great deal of operational consistency. In 2017, an average of 2,300 parcels were shipped every second, representing a 17% increase in global volume from the previous year, according to CEP Research. The number of shipped packages is expected to surpass 100 billion by 2020, with the United States ranking as the highest in parcel shipping revenue among the 13 companies listed in Pitney Bowes' annual Parcel Shipping Index. As volume surges, delivery companies will increasingly rely on track-and-trace systems that integrate IIoT devices and wireless capabilities.
Beyond the customer-facing benefits of real-time package tracking, the shipping companies are able to use the data they collect to identify delivery trends and optimize their internal processes. For example, the insights extracted from region-based transportation data can help drivers avoid traffic congestion and locate optimal delivery routes in real-time. Vehicles equipped with IIoT technologies provide greater visibility during every leg of a package's journey, from warehouse to doorstep, allowing companies to eliminate unnecessary downtime, reduce fuel costs and ensure effective asset utilization.
The value of predictive analytics
One of the biggest challenges for fleet managers in the package delivery space is anticipating issues that may lead to transportation delays, from inclement weather to vehicle breakdowns. While IIoT technologies cannot completely remove these obstacles, they can provide significant predictive capabilities that may mitigate their potential impact. For example, delivery vehicles are often outfitted with vibration and temperature sensors that can detect performance irregularities and send out automated maintenance alerts. This provides fleet managers with an extra layer of oversight that can help prevent costly breakdowns and severe accidents that may result from faulty vehicle components.
Reliable transportation equipment is essential for maintaining profitable partnerships between ecommerce giants and the package delivery companies that fulfill online customers' orders, but IIoT also plays a key role in inventory management. Most package couriers utilize omnichannel inventory selection tools that help them anticipate buying trends, as it allows them to stock their warehouses with the appropriate volume of consumer goods. According to a 2019 MHI industry report, the number of supply chain professionals utilizing predictive analytics has grown 76% since 2017. Additionally, around 43% of surveyed companies said they were using new technologies to improve their inventory and network optimization. Although these figures aggregate feedback from several disparate industries, they demonstrate a clear shift toward the digitization of traditional supply chain models.
Improving network infrastructure
As businesses in every industrial space move toward IIoT-powered workflows, the need for reliable network infrastructure grows increasingly important. Systems that leverage real-time information collection and processing capabilities rely on stable data transmissions and secure networks, as performance interruptions can lead to significant logistical issues and productivity losses. Perle offers industrial-grade networking tools that can keep package delivery companies operating at maximum efficiency. Our reliable Device Servers and Ethernet Switches can be fully integrated into warehouse environments that use IIoT equipment, ensuring track-and-trace systems remain accurate and reliable. Read some of our customer stories to find out how we've helped other companies integrate advanced technologies into their transportation and inventory equipment.