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Keeping freight and logistics moving with Big Data analytics

Grantby ‎07-29-2013 11:43 AM - edited ‎09-30-2015 06:57 AM

With the explosion of online transactions and the massive consumerization of IT, there still remains plenty of opportunity to keep things moving. It is, after all, a truly mobile world. Products and orders need to arrive on time and at their proper destination. Drivers and transportation hubs need to make informed decisions concerning critical routes and schedules. It happens all day, every day, all around the world. And advances in mobility and IT are keeping the actual stuff of life moving at unprecedented pace and accuracy, thanks to the analytics power of Big Data.


While freight and logistics field workers have long used mobile devices to assist in their day-to-day activities, most of the devices traditionally operated in a batch mode that equated to lost time and lost productivity. Today, the entire industry is benefiting from enhanced productivity applications, location-based services and sensor technology that can turn raw data into timely, actionable information.


To understand leading-edge solutions for the Freight and Logistics industry, we sat down with Keith Hendrickson, Managing Principle of Mobility for HP Enterprise Services for insight into how HP is keeping the world moving.


124162-Freight and Lo.pngES: Just exactly how does the mobile workforce benefit from applications that facilitate two-way data transmissions?

KH: Above all, it’s important to remember that mobility and the associated technology is an enabler of productivity. Two-way solutions are especially advantageous when routing and re-routing particular deliveries. For example, retailers dispatch drivers on particular routes. Every product on every pallet is known and logged. With two-way data transmission, what is also known is where the shipment is at any particular point and where it is going, and ultimately needs to go. It sounds simple, but it’s actually quite complex when you consider the sheer volume of deliveries and the data associated with them. Location-based services are critical in this environment. If a shipment or demand changes a notification can be made, drivers can acknowledge that notification and the course is corrected. Drivers are more productive and the entire system can respond rapidly to changes in demand.    


ES: One of the fascinating developments in this field is something called geo-blocking and geo-fencing. How do you measure the success of these technologies?

KH: For many companies modernization gives assurance. Drivers are using mobile devices. It’s a given. Geo-blocking and velocity-blocking technologies can prevent them from viewing websites and downloading applications and media based on their location or the speed of their vehicle. It keeps the driver safe. Geo-fencing, in turn, is the practice of limiting mobile employees to a specific location by tracking their whereabouts via GPS technology. The premise of geo-fencing is to make sure employees who drive company vehicles don’t break from their routes. It is essentially a way for businesses to monitor employee actions on the clock. Both technologies are actually appreciated by drivers and dispatchers. They are safer and stay on preferred, known routes. In the end, everyone is assured of a successful delivery.  


ES: You mention in your article—published in the Freight and Logistics issues of Industry Edge— that the industry is beginning to widely employ value-added mobile sensor technologies. How does this sensor technology connect the packages, vehicles/drivers/supervisors and specialists/customers in real time?

KH:I have a lot of hope for the future of sensor technology. Again, this is a marvelous enabler. If we look to the developments of nanotechnology, for example, sensors the size of a pen tip can be integrated into almost anything. Of particular interest is in monitoring vehicle performance. Many people don’t know that sensor technology is monitoring the tire pressure in the cars they drive every day. Now apply that to freight and logistics. Sensors can monitor fuel, hours in operation, refrigeration levels … the list is endless. And analytics can then be applied to make improvements. Here’s an example. A company is evaluating tractor and driver performance when driving through mountain passes. Through analytics they determined that drivers were not using the best possible gears causing them to use more fuel. Now the company is using this data to evaluate the next generation of tractors and the use of alternative fuels. This is accomplished through the use of mobile sensor technology and analytical tools.


ES: So the future of technology integration in the freight and logistics industry is pretty bright.

KH: No doubt. HP has been working with this industry for decades. Advances in mobile devices and the enabling technology has made a difference in keeping the world moving. The data being generated is massive, it’s true, but the opportunity to apply analytics to this data is really key.  In daily interaction with customers I’m always encouraging them to have strategic conversations, then collect the information and not only improve, but perfect their operations. It’s exciting.


Thumbnail-straight_335x399.pngFor more insight into Mobility and the Freight and Logistics industry—and how HP is helping our clients perfect their operations—read the recent Freight and Logistics Industry Edition of the “Industry Edge” ezine or visit hp.com/go/freightandlogistics.



About the Author


I've devoted more than a decade to writing about technology products, solutions and services.

on ‎07-30-2013 09:29 AM
Hi grantby, you asked Keith about real time connections of the sensors with various kinds of 'readers'. I do, however, feel that Keith have not answered your question, because all he told about is collected on the vehicle and than later analyzed at the hq of the transporter firm. Please let us know, if this is true and if not please ask Keith again this question.
on ‎08-01-2013 09:31 AM


There's an interesting section on sensors in the article referenced at the bottom of the post. Keith answered the question with they type of sensor technology that was interesting to him. I heartliy suggest you read the article (and the entire ezine) to get a better assessment of sensor technology

on ‎09-02-2013 12:00 AM

i can see that freight and logistics services have gone a long way in terms of modern technology wise. It is a good idea thou, that the services offered by such is now a text away. Very informative. Thanks.

on ‎08-02-2014 12:39 PM

Excellent review. You are doing a great job in that direction. Technology and flexibility applied to logistics is what I try to do in my companies.

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