Supply Chain Expertise and Technology Blog by TMC, a division of C.H. Robinson

Three Ways Government Can Champion IoT-Wired Supply Chains


The Internet of Things (IoT) is rewiring supply chains, yet we are only at the beginning of this journey. As innovation gains speed, there are broad supply chain issues that governments need to address in order to take full advantage of the incredible opportunities that lie ahead.

Last week’s post discussed the urgent need for governments to work cross-functionally to keep pace with the growth of IoT innovations. This recommendation was part of a recent testimony that I had the privilege to provide to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety, and Security. On behalf of C.H. Robinson and the Transportation Intermediaries Association, the testimony focused on how the IoT impacts supply chain, logistics, and the movement of goods.

This week’s post shares additional recommendations provided to officials as they consider the implications of how an increasingly connected world impacts policy and society.

High-priority issues

A challenge we face in harnessing the IoT is keeping up with the multitude of possibilities that the technology opens up. But there are certain wide-ranging supply chain issues in need of attention that may not be on governments’ radar. Here are three recommended courses of action, per the testimony:

Reform archaic tax systems. Governments can encourage and support IoT leaders in the private sector by reforming outdated corporate tax codes. For example, many U.S.-based companies that are impacting cutting-edge innovations, operate under a tax code designed for manufacturing in the 1980s.

Combat cargo theft. IoT technology can be a boon for cargo thieves who use it to locate and target loads. The complexity of today’s global supply chains makes fighting this type of crime difficult. Governments should enforce strict penalties for cargo theft, and give law enforcement units the resources they need to combat cargo criminals.

Engage in megacity logistics. Megacities—cities with 10 million or more people—are growing both in number and size across the globe. The logistics of moving goods between and within these sprawling urban centers is a major challenge. IoT technology provides important tools for developing megacity freight transportation services, such as vehicle-based sensors that track delivery patterns in cities. Governments can play a role by monitoring and prioritizing relevant issues such as the availability of truck parking spaces in urban centers, and the impact of regulation on traffic congestion and vehicle size.

Progress through partnerships

The IoT is inspiring much innovation in supply chain management. Governments that are analyzing the policy and societal implications of an increasingly connected world—and the supply chains that are at the heart of successful businesses—are to be commended.

But the rate of change is accelerating, and it is imperative that governments step up their efforts to keep pace with the IoT’s onward march. Industry must support these efforts by working with policy groups to identify challenges and solutions, and help governments to maintain a leadership position.

Click here to learn more about how IoT impacts the future of transportation management system (TMS) technology and global supply chains.

- President, Managed Services
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