The entire global supply chain is evolving rapidly with regards to technology.
Gartner forecasts that over 20.4 billion connected things will be in use worldwide by 2020. Moreover, Gartner further predicts that more than half of major new business processes will incorporate some element of IoT.
Supply chain ecosystems are one of the biggest beneficiaries of the IoT applications.
Logistic providers that move objects by air, sea, rail, or ground, have widely distributed networks and rely on rapid information about those networks to make decisions. These sectors have especially capitalized on the benefits of an emerging IoT market of connected things and products
IoT Enabled Logistics Solutions can help tackle Mass Global Spoilage & Waste.
Managing logistics is a challenge in itself, given the vulnerability of the shipments on the sea, land and air. To add to these challenges, there are tons of products being shipped all across the global economy, every day, a lot of which comprises of food items, flowers and other products prone to spoilage if not transported under special conditions and temperatures.
The ability to tag boxes, crates, palettes, trucks and containers with IoT track and trace IDs and equip them with temperature sensors, heat sensors and location sensors can offer solutions to a multi-million-dollar inefficiency in the global supply chain caused by spoilage and waste.
Imagine hundreds of cold storage trucks shipping food products between an inland warehouse and a port near the sea. With the use of IoT connected temperature sensors within those trucks, a company can gain instant visibility into not just the location of their trucks but alerts when the temperate spikes within a certain cold storage truck which makes it susceptible to spoilage.
This level of visibility and data insights can help the company flag the truck to report to the nearest service centre to have the issue checked before the entire load is spoiled and has to be written off. The same concept applied to a ship full of hundreds of cold storage containers will allow the organization to locate a specific container on a specific ship and have the crew address the faulty storage container on board before it’s written off as waste. On a global scale, these technologies translate into millions of dollars of product that would otherwise be waste and not reach the intended destination.
How Maersk Addressed Perishable Waste Reduction with IoT Technology
The Munich Maersk has been termed as a testament to the marriage of information and technology. The Maersk Line has been heading towards digitization for a while now. In 2015, Maersk teamed up with AT&T to track and monitor cold shipping containers. AT&T’s IoT technology allows Maersk to track and monitor the condition of refrigerated containers with perishable goods.
Prior to this development, Maersk supply chain managers would manually check each container for spoilage.
Now, Maersk has connected over 280,000 of its refrigerated containers to the AT&T network. Each unit uses a remote container device (RCD) with a 3G High-Temperature SIM card, a GPS unit, a ZigBee radio and antenna, and multiple interfaces for connecting into the refrigerated container’s controller. The RCD can operate with two-way connectivity from just about anywhere in the world.
Maersk’s shipping supervisors now only have to monitor mechanical performance to help ensure the equipment is in proper working condition. This has not only made shipment logistics more transparent and easy to track, it allows Maersk to cut back on costs while allocating fewer supervising managers per ship.
Such real-time visibility makes the supply-chain more transparent and eligible to mitigate risks and track perishable products ahead of time.
By allocating identifiers to every ship, container, and product at a batch or an individual level, similar solutions can be deployed to other water, air or land borne global supply chains to mitigate spoilage and effectively manage shipments.
Maersk Line is only one example of how IoT based models make shipping and logistics more transparent and flexible while mitigating spoilage of shipments in the supply-chain. The implications of IoT Platforms on logistics and supply chain is poised to be game-changing.