How can LoRaWAN benefit the smart supply chain and logistics?

Supply chain and logistics are one of the largest industries in the world – estimated to be worth $2.5 trillion annually worldwide. That's a lot of business, and it's something that needs to be as efficient and smart as possible to keep up with evolving demand. The IoT era is fast-paced, and there are already numerous logistics and supply chain companies that have begun incorporating IoT technology as a cost-saving measure to help drive productivity. LoRaWAN is such technology that can help Transform and benefit these areas. 

What is Smart Supply Chain? 

A smart supply chain refers to the perfect coordination between optimal distribution and demand to achieve a sustainable, greener business model. 

Smart transport technology can monitor the flow of supplies while tracking the use of raw materials and products associated with their production. Adopting this more sustainable methodology will benefit all players involved by leading to lower expenses, reduced carbon footprint, and increased efficiency. 

LoRaWAN is one such technology being used to manage smart supply chains solutions. It operates synchronously with low-powered devices over long distances, allowing these solutions to collect large quantities of information needed for analysis without using an immense amount of electricity. 

What is LoRa logistics? 

LoRa stands for Long Range Wide Area. LoRaWAN technology is a relatively new wireless communication network protocol that is more suitable for the needs of a supply chain than traditional cellular networks because it doesn't require as much data, so it is less expensive to send and receive. PLUS, the network manages communication using a pseudo-random sequence known as a hopping sequence which helps prevent large events such as natural disasters from affecting data transmission. 

LoRa is used in the supply chain to detect and track product shipments, which are tracked as Tags or Nodes (each tag connected to a satellite). These Tags, which send information about the shipment's status in real-time, typically travel on a mobile platform such as a truck or container. Other LoRa terminals work nearby to capture and publish this data using simple protocols (such as JSON), providing data that can be used without special expertise. As noted by DHL, one of the early adopters of LoRa in the supply chain, low power tags can be easily deployed using existing LPWAN technologies, such as WiFi and 3G, creating a LoRa network over which large data streams can be absorbed without requiring intervention by expensive engineers. 

 How will IoT impact Supply Chain? 

LoRaWAN is becoming the latest standard in IoT connectivity. LoRaWAN has successful applications in smart cities, manufacturing, and more. The cost of operating a LoRa node is much lower than other wireless networks because there is no monthly fee. This system can also be set up to support carrier-grade security and features resilience against jamming and eavesdropping. 

IoT is impacting the supply chain in multiple ways. First, it increases efficiency and reduces costs by simplifying supply chain processes, allowing real-time inventory management and location tracking. It makes it possible to know when a material is delivered, where it came from, and who carried out the delivery all in one place. 

IoT is also improving this field’s security. Early-warning systems linked to the physical world enable companies to sense and prevent supply chain risk before incidents happen, helping with effective compliance. Systems enable shipment tracking in real-time through localization solutions and associate temperature readings over time to identify problems and patterns before they become alerts or losses. Combining these two trends is driving a strong focus on IoT's ability to ensure goods reach their proper market in the right conditions without exposing goods/products to unnecessary risks along the way. 

IoT's impact on the supply chain can be categorized as: 

  • Tracking Assets Using the Internet of Things (IoT) 
  • Streamlined Delivery of the Final Mile 
  • Cold-chain transportation temperature monitoring in real-time 
  • Improved transparency  
  • Fleet Management 

To avoid unplanned outages, the use of predictive maintenance is recommended. 

What are the benefits of using LoRaWAN in the supply chain and logistics? 

Along with the internet of things (IoT), one of the most profound benefits is that this technology can be extremely cost-effective, even compared to conventional cellular. Compared to the cost of cellular coverage through some providers, LoRaWAN can be ten times less expensive - as lower power consumption and a simpler infrastructure. Being able to track the location of a product through simple networks and low-cost devices represents one of the greatest benefits. 

Another benefit of using LoRaWAN in the supply chain and logistics is integrating with other devices. It is estimated that, on average, a shipment requires 2 to 10 sensors, which means that the devices can last weeks or even months in battery life. 

The other benefits of the use of LoRaWAN in the supply chain and logistics are: 

  • The LoRa-based platform helps increase warehouse logistic efficiency 
  • Improve data accuracy 
  • Enhance the visibility of physical space for usage 

All of which can reduce operation time and cost significantly. 

Conclusion 

International trade is growing fast as more and more markets are opened to foreign competition. As a result, the demand for quick and reliable supply chain management solutions is also increasing. To remain competitive in this ever-changing environment, companies need to use efficient technology to provide faster forecasting, better performance control, and proactive management support.