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5G Technology Supply Chain Crisis Affects Fleet Management

Experts predict that ultra-fast and ultra-connected new 5G cellular technology will become standard in supply chain industries before the end of the decade. 100 times faster than previous iterations of this technology and soon to be almost universally accessible, this “fifth generation” is poised to transform the shipping and trucking industries.

The speed with which carriers are rolling out new 5G wireless technology has happened at an unprecedented pace. For example, in 2019, wireless carrier AT&T announced that it would phase out its old 3G technology by 2022 and that any devices still using the old chips would become obsolete at that point. This demand for a fast transition has left many businesses scrambling to identify and implement effective 5G technology in a short period of time. This is essential to keep fleets connected after the end of 3G.

The current supply chain issues are affecting the manufacture and distribution of 5G asset trackers, causing an issue for some device and service providers. Fortunately, this is not the case at GPS Trackit. Our sales team is routinely onboarding new customers and every day our support experts successfully assist existing clients as they expand their use of our 5G tools.

What is causing the supply chain crisis?

Just a year ago, the only people who talked about the supply chain were those in manufacturing, shipping, distribution, and retail sales. On November 11, 2021, Marine Exchange reported 111 container ships anchored outside the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, a new record high. This breaks the prior record of 108 container ships on October 21. Stories about the supply chain crisis are in the news every day. Business news reports on shortages of everything from computer chips and new cars, but crucial truck and van repair parts are the major threat to fleet managers that need to keep their drivers on the road. This fall, the words “supply chain disruption” are rolling off American tongues with as much ease and familiarity as “World Series” and “pumpkin spice latte.”

As consumers stayed at home for the first few months of the COVID-19 crisis, there was a tremendous surge in demand for electronics. For the first time in their careers, men and women who created home offices sought to upgrade their computers, monitors, cell phones, and more. These items were required for children learning from home as well. As the lockdown wore on and government stimulus checks were received, the nation started “nesting,” investing in home improvements and making purchases such as new televisions, video game consoles and devices that could conveniently join their “Internet of Things.” A 5G chip shortage ensued. All that demand burned quickly through the existing inventory of electronics and components, and manufacturers raced to close the gap between the country’s level of demand and their ability to meet it.

Compounding the issue, dock workers, warehouse employees, and truck drivers quit their jobs in record numbers. With no one to unload them, cargo ships began to wait in anchorages from coast to coast. When loads finally arrived at warehouses, they were further delayed prior to distribution and delivery. The current shortage of 80,000 drivers nationwide has only aggravated the delays in delivery.

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Map of ships waiting at ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach

Map of ships waiting at Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach

How is GPS used in the supply chain?

Consumer demand for everything from toilet paper and board games to 5G microchips skyrocketed in the early months of the pandemic, creating a challenge for families and businesses. All manner of state-of-the-art GPS-enabled devices became scarce. Extended wait times for new automobiles and trucks, as well as for replacement parts, became the new normal. Deadlines went unmet, and business executives were forced to apologize as vehicles were taken out of service.

Even as owners and managers struggled to meet customer expectations, it became increasingly critical for them to be able to know where their cargo and trucks were at all times. GPS-enabled asset and fleet trackers are key to this end-to-end visibility, enabling business owners and managers to see everything from a container to a single item or truck in real-time. Theft, damage, and other forms of loss are prevented. Routes are optimized and fuel costs are reduced, boosting the bottom line. Customer satisfaction is improved.

What is the advantage of 5G implementation in the logistics industry?

5G is not just an improvement over 3G and 4G; this revolutionary fifth generation of wireless technology is completely new and engineered to provide greatly enhanced speed and responsiveness with smaller lag times. Using 5G technology, those in supply chain industries are able to continuously and accurately monitor the moment-to-moment progress of shipments from end to end, to always know where their fleet vehicles are, and to supervise drivers in real-time. This visibility is essential to ensuring customer satisfaction through the safe, fast transport of goods, especially as the industry weathers the current supply chain issues.

How has 5G been affected by supply chain issues?

In December 2020, the Semiconductor Industry Association announced an expectation that global sales would jump more than 8% in 2021. That figure is a remarkable success in and of itself, but even more staggering when considered as an increase of more than 60% over the previous year’s growth statistic.

Automotive and electronics manufacturers are competing for a limited inventory of 5G chips. Some companies supplying 5G-enabled asset and vehicle tracking devices to fleets are reporting device shortages. GPS Trackit is not among them. GPS Trackit currently has devices for tracking assets like trailers and construction equipment.  GPS Trackit also has a full supply of fleet tracking devices ready for installation.

If you’d like to learn more about how GPS Trackit can help to improve safety, increase productivity and reduce costs for your business, speak with one of our knowledgeable Fleet Advisors at 866-320-5810 or get a quick Custom Quote.

Sources

www.nytimes.com/2021/09/24/technology/att-5g-race.html
www.scmr.com/article/the_impact_of_5g
www.inboundlogistics.com/cms/article/three-ways-5g-will-benefit-the-logistics-industry/
www.moneytalksnews.com/slideshows/9-things-the-chip-shortage-has-made-scarce-or-costly/
www.cnbc.com/2021/02/10/whats-causing-the-chip-shortage-affecting-ps5-cars-and-more.html
www.techtarget.com/searchnetworking/definition/5G
www.lightreading.com/security/atandt-samsung-others-to-meet-with-biden-over-chip-shortages/d/d-id/768691
www.today.com/parents/supply-chain-disruptions-cause-diaper-shortage-1-3-us-families-t234107
abcnews.go.com/Politics/whats-causing-americas-massive-supply-chain-disruptions/story?id=80587129

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