The following article comes to the Strategic Sourceror courtesy of Blaine Kelton, an IT professional and freelance writer based out of Beverly Hills, CA. He loves covering anything related to business and technology. Most recently, he’s had a particular interest in the IoT. 

Much has been made of how the ever-expanding Internet of Things is continually changing and improving supply chains in big businesses. In a broad sense, the use of interconnected systems and devices is streamlining everything from production to in-store inventory tracking. This is ultimately leading to a supply chain process that operates quickly, precisely, and with a minimal waste of time and energy. Beneath this blanket description, however, the digitization of the supply chain through the IoT has a lot of specific benefits that are good for all involved. Here, we're going to briefly address the idea that by connecting shipping fleet vehicles to the IoT, companies and organizations are making conditions significantly safer for drivers.

If the idea of the IoT affecting fleet vehicles sounds a little bit strange, or even forced, it has been generally described as the use of GPS and other tracking technologies to gather real time data on locations and operations of vehicles. Basically, a fleet vehicle with advanced GPS and WiFi sensors can be monitored by a system or an employee at a fleet management headquarters. The vehicle's exact whereabouts can be known and more efficient routes can be worked out automatically. Vehicle diagnostics can be also be recorded and kept track of so that repairs are addressed when needed. Even driver performance can be observed, so that any issues can be recorded and appropriately addressed. The broad idea from a company standpoint is to make things as efficient as possible, minimize needless gas expenses on slow routes, keep vehicles in good shape, and make sure that product is shipped as quickly and precisely as necessary.

There's also a benefit for the drivers, which is that they're made safer. The IoT's involvement with fleet vehicles helps to construct ideal driving conditions for drivers, and also holds them accountable for their performance behind the wheel. And this is not just a vague concept that one can infer from understanding the overarching state of fleet tracking. One company helping to lead the way in rolling out fleet tracking programs specifically provides drivers with an app that helps with routing, communication, and driving habits all at once. Through the app, drivers can see updated routes and delivery schedules, view service history and maintenance updates, monitor driving performance (like speeding and abrupt stopping tendencies), communicate with managers, and follow voice-guided navigation. No single aspect of that service is necessarily new, but having it all presented seamlessly in one place gives drivers a huge advantage.

In the end, this provides a strong example of how the IoT's large-scale impact can often overshadow some of its unseen benefits. For most of us, the affect on supply chains matters only insofar as store inventory may become more reliable, and product could conceivably become marginally more affordable as a result of costs saved elsewhere. But within companies using shipping fleets the ability to keep drivers alert, updated, and safe is significant, and alleviates many of the concerns of managing vehicle activity.

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