The world has long been waiting for the 5G mobile broadband network. As consumers clamor for better services and faster delivery of goods, a lot of industries have been hoping to speed up their internet connections to meet this demand. Thankfully, the dawn of 5G is upon us.
Gartner’s predictive analysis reveals that 5G networks will start to roll out this 2020 through network-based mobile communications service providers. Through this, 20.4 billion connected things will be spread out and utilized all over the world. Certainly, the 5G mobile broadband network will soon become the industry standard — especially in smart cities — so supply chain players need to carefully strategize in order to fully utilize this technology.
Organizations, people, and activities that are directly connected to the supply chain will benefit greatly from the 5G mobile network, no matter how big or small their enterprises are. Here, we’ll take a look at how 5G is set to revolutionize how supply chains work.
One way that 5G is set to improve the supply chain is by upgrading the logistics tech that transportation and delivery industries use. As companies constantly track and trace products to ensure successful delivery, a lot of pressure has been put in keeping this process optimized to prevent customer dissatisfaction and failure to provide goods. With 5G, supply chain enterprises will have higher visibility the minute a delivery truck departs a warehouse, guaranteeing a seamless transition from one location to another.
As 5G offers an almost instantaneous connection between logistic teams, delays in delivery and scheduling can now be mitigated. Furthermore, artificial intelligence-led projects like self-driving trucks — which will soon be a smart city staple and were pioneered by Kodiak Robotics in 2018 — will be safer, more efficient, and more environmentally friendly if connection is done through the 5G network.
Improve Communication Between Fleets
Communication is vital in the supply chain, as miscommunication causes delays in operations, which in turn, spell massive dips in profits for various industries. As 5G connects users with groundbreaking speeds, there’s a significantly lower chance for communication mishaps to happen. Furthermore, 5G allows teams to send and receive information almost instantaneously.
With this, fleets can communicate tons of useful information as soon as their sensors pick up data, which can also lead to a huge efficiency boost. An article titled ‘The Intelligent Fleet: Bridging the Communications Gap’ by Verizon Connect points out how this can lead to performance insights being applied immediately across fleets and drivers. The end result, then, would be that logistics fleets would be constantly updated with the best schedules, routes, and ways to deliver goods. In smart cities where efficiency is highly regarded, the benefits of 5G networks in keeping supply chain fleets connected will further drive higher profits for the affected enterprises.
Better Inventory Management
5G will also change the way supply chain industries approach inventory and warehouse management. For one, the technology used in logistics is closely tied with the one used for tracking goods in the warehouse, so 5G’s superior network will be incredibly beneficial in making collection, delivery, and archiving more efficient. Inbound and outbound goods will be managed with ease, and collection of data insights to improve operations (just like how smart cities improve their infrastructure and public service) will all be faster if done through the 5G network.
Another great application of 5G in warehouse management is the use of augmented reality (AR) to keep track of goods inside the warehouses. A GS1 survey reports that the average inventory accuracy only lands at 63%, so supply chain warehouses need new tech to help raise this statistic. Thankfully, we have AR to supplement this. Coupled with 5G, AR allows warehouse managers to have a visual of their environment with information through computer-generated graphics. So in real-time, warehouse workers can plan a warehouse’s layout of goods in advance by superimposing computer-generated photos of the products on shelves and storage.
Overall, 5G is more than just a step forward into the future. As this technology mitigates communication loss and enhances internet speeds, industries involved in the supply chain can make leaps and bounds in improving their services, encourage more efficient operations, and drive higher profits.
Kelly Glazer is an Arizona-based tech enthusiast who believes that staying connected will solve all the world’s problems. A mother of two young boys, Kelly likes to spend her time reading up on the latest tech news or tinkering with computer hardware in her office.