Transportation and logistics companies and mobile technology: Lessons for other industries
In the run-up to the holiday season, it’s the transportation and logistics industry that makes wishes come true for young and old alike. Though these holiday heroes make it look easy, transportation and logistics companies rely heavily on mobile technology to help them deliver, suggests FleetOwner.
Companies in other industries should take cues from the transportation industry on how it uses mobile technology to get the job done.
The transportation and logistics industry has important enterprise mobility insights because it’s an industry that’s mastered knowing the location of its people and assets using location-based services and the IoT.
Here are five mobile solutions powering the transportation and logistics industry and lessons other enterprises can learn from their applications:
As highlighted by DreamOrbit, the transportation and logistics industry uses geofencing to create virtual boundaries around assigned areas using GPS-enabled devices. For example, transportation and logistics companies use geofencing technology to track when trucks enter and leave a depot yard or overnight parking area.
Geofencing technologies aren’t just for tracking vehicles, either. A healthcare institution can use the same technology on devices within its network to limit access to patient information. It can also integrate geofencing technology with enterprise mobility management(EMM) solutions. Doctors or other healthcare professionals can bring up the patient data they need on their mobile devices when they’re working their shifts. As soon as their shifts end, their mobile devices won’t be able to log on to any hospital resources holding patient information. This technology can be critical for hospitals with mobile workers to remain compliant with the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
2. Location-based services
Whether trucks are in freight yards or delivering toys for Black Friday, it makes good business sense to know their locations. Companies use mobile devices and onboard GPS to support location-based services across their fleets. Location-based services can feed into back-office systems including management dashboards and analytics platforms for reporting purposes. Management can use that data to make informed decisions about its next business moves.
Companies in the retail, healthcare and field services industries use these technologies when it’s necessary to track employees and customers for security and other purposes. For example, consider when a cable company equips its vehicles with location-based services so it can track them and dispatch the closest technician to service a customer.
3. Mobile-based planning apps
Firms use cloud-based applications (sometimes called transportation management systems) to manage and track shipments from the warehouse through transport to shipping. Drivers can access these systems using mobile apps. Some vendors also offer secure chat and collaboration features as part of these applications, giving them channels to communicate back to dispatchers and corporate offices if something changes on their routes.
Mobile planning apps have many applications across other industries. Though field service companies such as construction firms are a natural fit, these apps point to a future in which mobile devices will run more business operations. Furthermore, the implications for secure collaboration and communications are transferable to healthcare, financial services and manufacturing, where mobile workers need close communications across one or more facilities during daily operations.
4. The IoT
The barrier to entry for the IoT is going down for the supply chain, according to Logistics Management. This is leading to some exciting applications for the transportation and logistics industry. Consider a transportation company that tags its loads with IoT beacons. Each beacon communicates with its main dispatch center or even directly to customers, enabling them to track goods through their entire shipping cycles. Transportation management systems, enterprise resource planning platforms and even customer relationship management applications can then read these IoT beacons.
The transportation and logistics industry sets an example for its implementation of the IoT to track vehicles and packages while going through the supply chain. Similar parallels for the IoT exist in pharmaceuticals and healthcare, where IoT sensors can monitor patients both in hospitals and at home. In the end, it’s about the IoT sensor triggering a notification prompting a person to take action. Other enterprises will also use IoT devices to monitor machinery and other assets.
5. Enterprise mobility management
The transportation and logistics industry represents a mobile workforce like no other industry because of its delivery challenges, deadlines and the distances its workforce covers. All this makes the industry a natural consumer of EMM solutions. Mobile devices need to receive security, app and mobile OS updates, whether they’re on the road, at a corporate facility or at a rest stop later that night. Using today’s EMM solutions lets transportation companies secure IoT devices and integrate geofencing solutions into their overall mobile security solutions.
Look at the landing page for many EMM solutions right now and chances are you’ll see a vendor trying to suit its platform to cross-industry business requirements. That’s a testimony to a mobility vendor that’s learning from the transportation industry to create the best solutions for its customers.
Part of becoming a better mobile enterprise is studying how other industries go mobile. The transportation and logistics industry is a perfect case study in mobility because it represents businesses with critical timelines that require flexible and secure mobile technologies to ensure user productivity.
This post originally appeared on Mobile Business Insights on November 2, 2017. The site is no longer in publication.
My name is Will Kelly. I’m a technical writer and content strategist based in the Washington, DC area. I’ve written for corporations and technology publications about such topics as cloud computing, DevOps, and enterprise mobility. Follow me on Twitter: @willkelly