Supply chain management is the basic business process that affects almost every enterprise, whether you are a manufacturer who must transport parts to the factory and finished products to the point of sale, or an agricultural operator who is responsible for transporting products to processing or commercial kitchens.

Usually, this important task involves third-party logistics companies. While these companies play an important role, they may also lead to inefficiency and lack of visibility of the process.

Sensors that can monitor the status of products in delivery and cloud platforms that can optimize the delivery route are just some technologies that are improving the way of supply chain management.

Asset tracking and fleet management

Two important supply chain management use cases supported by the Internet of things (IOT) are asset tracking and fleet management.

Asset tracking

For example, based on RFID tag or global SIM, asset tracking allows supply chain managers to know the location of products, trucks or transportation containers in real time; Does it move through the Panama Canal on container ships or along assembly lines on the factory floor.

This in-depth insight into the supply chain, coupled with cloud computing and data analysis, can provide information for the prediction model, so as to provide the latest delivery information, which can create efficiency at the staffing level, because it is related to monitoring and receiving products and the availability of supplementary assets, just as cranes need to unload barges or forklifts to load trucks.

Fleet management

To fully understand the impact of fleet management, consider FedEx or DHL drivers whose task is to move light trucks filled with packages in urban areas. Weather, traffic jams, time of day, one day of the week, and a colleague on sick leave can all change the time it takes to deliver packages from the warehouse to customers.

With so many variables, it is unrealistic to expect one to always make the most effective decision. However, cloud platforms that provide data from fleets, traffic models, weather reports and other sources can draw more efficient routes.

Packages reach customers faster, ensuring a better end-user experience. In addition, the number of drivers, fuel consumption and maintenance costs can be reduced. Finally, fleet management enables operators to know that the reliability, availability and efficiency of assets have been optimized based on analysis.

Network operators and equipment suppliers

From the perspective of network operators and equipment suppliers, asset tracking and fleet management are not easy for many reasons.

Almost every potential customer is engaged in some form of supply chain management, which is equivalent to a huge target market. In addition, the required technologies are well understood, readily available, and easily integrated into existing enterprise IT platforms.

Like many other enterprise and industrial Internet of things use cases, most major players are managing the supply chain through end-to-end solutions, which means simplifying the implementation process of buyers by providing turnkey solutions from a single supplier.

Although this sounds simple, it means that to really bring E2E products, suppliers need expertise in IP connectivity, cloud services, security, hardware and positioning.

How do large companies use and enable asset tracking and fleet management


Verizon hopes to use its nationwide investment in LTE network and spectrum to support Internet of things services, such as asset tracking and fleet management.

The LTE selling points of the Internet of things (especially ltecatm1) lie in the reliability, scalability, safety, cost and long battery life of sensors and other field devices.

Verizon is working with sequans to design and manufacture cat-m1 chips embedded in verizonthingspace’s Internet of things management platform. This will enable enterprise users to easily develop and deploy customized devices to support their specific roles in the supply chain process.


The same technology that helps delivery drivers optimize routes can also be used to help save lives.

Cisco cooperates with the non-profit California shock and trauma aviation rescue (Calstar) air ambulance service to improve the efficiency of its dispatching system. When the emergency call is routed to Calstar dispatch, the public safety response point will be geographically matched with the nearest air ambulance, which is dispatched.

The dispatcher can communicate with the rescue personnel and emergency callers through a system, which can easily communicate the arrival and lifting time, and help the crew prepare for dynamic emergencies.

Julie Hyde, director of Calstar it, said: “the Internet of things connects our people, processes and data in an unprecedented way.” “The biggest change is that we now have better operational control. Operations make people more at ease and the crew more at ease because they know that our technology helps ensure their safety and security.”


Obviously, data analysis is an important part of the Internet of things to improve the efficiency of the supply chain. In order to better understand the role of big data, let’s take a look at how IBM uses its Watson artificial intelligence platform to meet the needs of the supply chain.

In a recent white paper, IBM pointed out that “up to 65% of the value of a company’s products or services comes from suppliers.” In order to overcome the lack of transparency in the supply chain, the authors of the report concluded that “by establishing greater visibility into supply chain data and processes and using cognitive technology, supply chain organizations can predict and mitigate interruptions and risks and bring more value to enterprises.”

In terms of visibility, IBM proposes to provide a shared and unified view of relevant data for each supply chain stakeholder. In a case study of Bonnie plants, a customer who provides factories to retail locations, IBM enabled real-time visibility, allowing companies to ship to new factories where and when needed.

Another important aspect is the ability to predict. If you see a potential supply chain disruption coming, it will be easier to plan and mitigate.

Kehe distributors have worked with IBM to modernize their logistics network to ensure operational efficiency. Carl Snyder of Kehe said, “in our industry, lean operation is very important to deal with the pressure of declining profit margins.” “We have not experienced any unplanned downtime to keep our logistics network running smoothly and cost-effective.”

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