Which technological applications are recommended for business to enter Logistics 4.0? (Part 4)

Published by Ngoc Tran on

Internet of Things

In this last post of series “Which technological applications are recommended for business to enter Logistics 4.0? ” we will discuss Internet of Things (IoT) shown in Figure 1 above and the Augmented Reality (AR). Let’s discover these technologies in terms of their functionalities, and their application in supporting organizations to maintain their competitive advantage.

#7: Internet of Things (IoT)

The Internet connects physical objects to each other and creates smarter services for the environment  which are the main drivers of IoT. This technology enables organizations to track their goods at each stage of the logistics process in real-time. Meanwhile, companies can analyze the data generated at each stage and distribute these data to all parties in the process digitally. The ability to obtain real-time data in forecasting allows companies to realize future trends and the probability of unexpected events leading to more effective preventive measures. Thus, firms become more responsive to the market and retain their competitiveness.


  • Maersk has embraced the IoT to keep track of its assets and optimize fuel consumption and the routes of its ships. Besides, IoT can notice the change of temperature, which enables better control of refrigerated containers. Because Maersk spent around $1 billion annually on transporting empty shipping containers, it has used sensors and data analytics applications to know how to store and locate those empty containers.
  • Airbus has launched a digital manufacturing initiative known as Factory of the Future to streamline operations of assembling a commercial jetliner. Specifically, aircraft assembly technicians are being equipped with integrated sensor tools and wearable technology namely virtual-reality (VR) glasses, all of which are web-connected. In the process of marking cabin-seat, the wearables enable a 500% improvement in productivity with very little errors.
  • Kukua has created connected weather stations to establish constantly updating weather maps of Sub-Saharan Africa to collect local weather data, especially prediction of a negative sign, and feed this information back to the farmers themselves. Gathered real-time information includes wind speed, wind direction, solar radiation, rainfall, temperature, humidity, and so on. Together with the farming techniques, farmers are enabled to find the best solutions for the conditions.

#8: Augmented Reality (AR)

Many industries such as manufacturing, training and maintenance operations have been using AR. It combines computer-generated data with the physical world to help workers. For instance, pick-by-vision is an innovative method based on AR technology, in which a picker uses smart data glasses and context-related information (e.g. in which shelf or on which pallet an article is placed?) to compile goods for customer or production orders. The position of the staff wearing the smart glasses is permanently recorded by a tracking system. Besides, medical students can use an AR headset to learn anatomy, or customers who are interested in buying a motorcycle in the showroom can customize their choice via an AR app.


  • IKEA has developed the IKEA Place App, which allows e-commerce shoppers to use AR with their smartphone camera to place furniture items into their homes for better visualization. This way allows customers to go from shopping to purchase instantaneously.
  • Snap introduced City Painter in London’s Carnaby Street, which is an AR tool allowing users to virtually spray paint above the street’s shops and decorate them. Any changes a person makes can be seen in real-time by others using it.
  • Pull & Bear has launched an AR game in collaboration with Facebook’s Creative Shop to engage potential customers (Generation Z).

Has your organisation or yourself experienced these technologies? How was the implementation process? What are the lessons learnt? Please reflect on these questions because it may empower you to generate ideas for bettering your current systems in a more user-friendly way. Also, please share your story in the comment below so we can learn together.

Last but not least, a bonus for those of you that have read until the last article of this series: An overview of new and emerging technologies positioned relative to five primary capabilities (Figure 2): thinking/reasoning, communicating/connecting, moving physical objects, materials processing, ‘seeing’/sensing.

New technologies Figure 2

Figure 2. New and emerging technologies (Slack, 2019)

Recommended reading:

Logistics 4.0: Digital Transformation of Supply Chain Management (Paksoy et al., 2021)





Image source:


Operations Management 9th edition (Slack, 2019)

Series Logistics 4.0

Thank you for reading and share if you find it useful!


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