Supply chain and logistics have seen massive disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, creating new challenges for retail and manufacturing operations. In its report “Sensing for Modern Logistics,” Lux Research identifies how sensors can be used to improve and modernize logistics across various industries to shore up global supply chain infrastructures.
“I would say COVID-19 created new logistics challenges that require IoT sensors being part of the solution,” says Lisheng Gao, Ph.D., analyst and lead author of the report for Boston-based Lux Research. “For example, the demand for the vaccine and the strict storage conditions make the logistics very challenging, along with the advanced cold chain technologies, stakeholders also need sensing solutions that closely monitor the storing conditions to reveal potential compromise caused by possible unnoticeable intermittent improper storing conditions. The sensor collected data helps stakeholders make plan ahead when they have the information in hand.”
Gao explains that the pandemic increased uncertainties to logistics due to the change of demands, increased logistic costs, and uncertainty of workers' health conditions.
According to Lux’s research, there are four critical points in the logistics process – point of origin, warehousing, transit, and destination – each with a unique set of challenges that impact the efficiency of supply chains, sometimes even leading to complete breakdowns.
The report outlines why sensors are important technologies for modern logistics, how sensing technologies can help companies address immediate challenges throughout their logistical process, and what the roles that sensing technologies play.
“The purpose is to provide the sensing technology and market landscape for logistics,” says Gao. “Furthermore, we aim to help our clients use this report to evaluate their immediate challenges and layout their strategies of adopting sensing technologies to logistics.”
Sensors help to collect real-time information of goods and assets moving along the chain and send the data to stakeholders, thereby allowing them to make business decisions based on the insights extracted from the real-time data.
“…Using sensors also helps stakeholders improve their asset utilization by continuously monitoring their assets' status, including locations, travel history, conditions, and events; such assets include standard containers, railcars, and trucks,” says Gao. “To resolve the uncertainties, digital solutions can help improve the data transparency and visibility of the process during the pandemic.”
Lux Research is a tech-enabled research and advisory solutions provider, helping clients drive growth through technology innovation. A pioneer in the research industry, Lux combines technical expertise and business insights with a proprietary intelligence platform, using advanced analytics and data science to surface true leading indicators. The company recently released its annual Top Emerging Technologies to Watch in 2021, with sensors making the top 12.
“Technologies from our lists like digital biomarkers and AI-enabled sensors can help bring businesses back to work,” Michael Holman, Ph.D., vice president of research and lead author of the report said in a statement. “But for all the changes that the pandemic has brought, the key megatrends shaping the future are still in force. Technologies that support these transitions, such as autonomous vehicles, alternative proteins, and green hydrogen, will maintain their momentum as a result.”