Transportation & Logistics / Vehicle & Freight Tracking
Transportation & Logistics: Punctual and Secure with M2M
Day by day, transportation and logistics companies move millions of tons of goods by road, rail and sea around the world.
What matters in shipping is for the goods to reach the customers on time and undamaged. M2M communication via mobile networks makes a crucial contribution to secure, timely delivery. M2M tracking modules provide real-time data on the position of trucks and pallets, supply information about the condition of containers and goods, and sound the alarm in the event of breakdowns and theft. M2M also helps track goods at logistics centers or packages in mail order business and manage containers in port via an online portal.
M2M Tracking Keeps an Unerring Eye on Freight
In transportation and logistics, M2M vehicle and freight tracking solutions lead to shorter delivery times, less frequent delays, greater customer satisfaction, lower fuel consumption, improved warehouse management and enhanced security.
There are an estimated 30 million standard containers around the world, and more than half of them are under way right now, according to the Berg Insight market research specialists. One in three container shipments arrives at its destination late, or damaged, or is lost. Vehicle and freight tracking with M2M modules helps shipping and logistics companies to offer their freight customers planning security, to reduce loading times and, by connecting the container along its entire transportation route, enables all relevant information to be retrieved in real time.
Online portal in the cloud
A central, vendor-neutral control portal in the cloud brings together freight information from different telematics systems. This makes manual data reconciliation – often a potential source of error – superfluous. M2M modules record in real time the route that containers, pallets and packages take. Freight forwarders and logistics service providers can see on the online portal at any time when the goods will be delivered – this data is accessible via PC or tablet.
Customer-friendly mail order business
In the mail order business customer service notifies customers by an app exactly – to the minute – when their package is due to arrive. Customers can track the status of their order around the clock. Delivery is documented by a mobile scanner and the delivery vehicles and scanners are constantly connected to the service center via the mobile network. So M2M solutions enable mail order firms to offer customers new services such as real-time shipment tracking or same-day delivery and thereby set themselves apart from the competition.
Connected in the Port of Hamburg
At logistics centers and in warehouses, ports, truck and container terminals or at airports, knowing the shipments’ exact location is equally important. In the Port of Hamburg, for example, a unique logistics system – the smartPORT logistics IoT solution – was launched in 2015. It is a cloud application that combines and merges the shipping and infrastructure data of Europe’s second-largest container port, including information on bridge opening times, construction sites and free parking space – along with the position data of containers and the telematics data of vehicles –, and makes them available in real time on an online portal. smartPORT logistics is based on Telekom’s Connected Car platform. For trucks without a telematics system Telekom provides an app for smartphones and tablets to enable them to connect with the system. In the pilot project the efficiency of port logistics has already been improved by ten percent.
Tracking modules and RFID chips
M2M tracking modules that incorporate GPS sensors, solar cells and a GSM modem are suitable for global monitoring of container shipments. One of these modules is simply fixed to the container, runs for ten years without requiring maintenance, and sends the position data to the control center via the mobile networks at any time, regardless which country or customs border the goods have just crossed.To read data locally a container can also be equipped with a radio frequency identification (RFID) chip. The RFID chip’s advantage over a barcode is that data such as the destination can be stored on it and retrieved via radio frequencies, whereas barcode data cannot be changed. Barcodes are also error-prone if they are heavily soiled.
Efficiency at the warehouse
M2M communication solutions are also suitable for warehouse logistics. In fully integrated supply chain management the warehouse management system for example knows in real time – thanks to laser sensors on forklift trucks and warehouse ceilings – where every forklift truck is and can relay the transport order and the fastest route to the shelf to the truck by WLAN.