Table of Contents

Connected Supply Chain: Creating Competitive Advantage by Leveraging IoT

The global supply chain has been witnessing tough times for the past few years. The COVID-19 pandemic further heightened the difficulty levels for them. The consumer-packaged goods such as groceries and medicines demonstrate densities in the modern supply chain. Meeting the pressure of the growing demands and setting up an effective delivery system, while ensuring safety and quality, is hard to manage.

From production to delivery, a single global shipment via any of the logistic mediums such as airlines, cargo ships, railway lines, and trucking companies generates 300+ unique interactions and involves over 35 businesses.

Table of Contents

  1. Lack of consistent visibility (intelligence) in the logistics
  2. Cost-effectiveness and Security
  3. Waste and delays causing poor customer service
  4. Reduce the cost of claims
  5. Connected Supply Chain with IoT: End-to-end Visibility in Real-time
  6. Key benefits of Intel Connected Logistics Platform

As per a report by Industry Week on chain visibility, it is estimated that 22.8 billion shipments are damaged, delayed, or lost every year. The damaged shipments cannot be used, hence, they become unsaleable. Spoilage of perishable goods is a major issue in the global supply chain. As per CargoData Corp, one-third of all food products shipped are lost or wasted, totaling to more than US $35 billion a year, and 30% of perishable goods are spoilt before they reach their destination.

Also, there is a huge theft risk at each point in the supply chain – storage, during transit, and delivery. Cargo theft continues to grow with the increasing volume of the world trade. Goods worth US $60 billion are stolen each year worldwide with US $35 billion cargo thefts in USA alone.

Lack of consistent visibility (intelligence) in the logistics:

Organizations struggle to track the journey of their shipments in real-time, so they seek greater transparency. ​Some solutions log conditional data but do not deliver it in real-time, restricting the response to a problem as it occurs. In other cases, information gaps caused by connectivity issues or lack of granular tracking leave unknown variables in the supply chain, making it difficult to trace when and where the items may have been mishandled, damaged, lost, or stolen. Common track and trace offerings do not sufficiently support the modern enterprise supply chain.

Cost-effectiveness and Security:

Low-cost and off-the-shelf solutions don’t deliver the intelligence that the companies need to inform reverse logistics. More thorough custom solutions typically have a high per-item price tag. Organizations need a cost-effective way to track at scale — not just at the container/trailer level, but at the item level — consistently in real-time. Lack of interoperability and standards make it challenging to track individual items.

There is limited end-to-end hardware-enabled data protection in the common track and trace systems. Mishandling of items, theft, waste, and delays cost money and impact customer satisfaction.

Waste and delays causing poor customer service:

There are inherent risks while shipping items. However, the manufacturers and suppliers intend to prevent the damage and waste of their high-value shipped goods. They also want packages to reach the retailers/consumers on time.​ Delayed or non-compliant shipments can cause operational delays, downtime at factories waiting to receive supplies, and stock-outs at the retail outlets.

Reduce the cost of claims:

Significant damage or theft can occur during shipping, and it can lead to claims and increased liability costs. Organizations seek full traceability of goods to respond appropriately to damage or the loss claims.

Connected Supply Chain with IoT: End-to-end Visibility in Real-time

With the state-of-the-art Internet of Things (IoT) devices, real-time visibility of the goods is possible. A connected IoT ecosystem can help you quickly and objectively identify problems, mitigate losses, manage shipping-related costs, and optimize operations by providing actionable insights and predictive analytics.

Intel Connected Logistics Platform (ICLP) seamlessly connects assets, logistics warehouses, and mobile vehicles through a combination of hardware and remote cloud-based management tools that are secure and cost-effective.

Connected Supply Chain with IoT

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IoT sensors are tagged to each high-value asset to monitor conditions including the location, temperature, humidity, light exposure, and the position — Conditions such as shock, fall, tilt would indicate potential damage, theft, tampering, or mishandling. With a small form factor, sensors can be attached to an asset directly, included in a box, or affixed to a pallet, and they communicate with one another and the gateway through a mesh network

ICLP gateway gathers data from the IoT sensors throughout an item’s journey. Small gateways can either be fixed (in warehouses) or mobile (attached to a pallet or container to travel with a shipment). Gateways send aggregated data to the cloud via Wi-Fi when they are in a fixed location or via a cellular network when they are in transit — transferring seamlessly between the two networks to provide full, continuous visibility into the asset conditions wherever the assets are. ICLP gateways have been approved for use in the aero planes, trucks, trains, and ships.

The aggregated data is transmitted by the gateways to a cloud application that in turn yields insights into the operation. Powered by Microsoft Azure, the cloud application can be designed as a mobile app or an online dashboard to suit the customer needs. The cloud application can be designed to provide data insights to the operations managers at the headquarters. This is focused on comprehensive supply chain management, and/or to improve workflows for shippers in the custody of a shipment who could use a mobile app to verify the condition of the items in their container at any time.

Key benefits of Intel Connected Logistics Platform:

Generate useful insights

The ICLP’s unique mesh network enables seamless communication between the tags and the gateway, even in adverse conditions — whether the tagged items are packed in a large pallet or in a metal box. ICLP tags cooperate and communicate with one another and the gateway through the mesh network for continuous tracking and monitoring.

The ICLP combines Wi-Fi and cellular connectivity for a smooth and consistent access to information about the location and the status of your assets, when they are at rest and in motion, to ensure that there are no data gaps. The customers determine the parameters for automated notifications to trigger corrective actions.

Manage costs

The ICLP can help minimize these costs and assist the shippers keep the high-value assets safe, secure, and compliant through the shipping process, by providing timely alerts of unwanted conditions and triggering fast and corrective action.

Temperature monitoring sensors, for example, can help the shippers monitor the perishable goods’ quality and mitigate losses in real-time by detecting and predicting the spoilage risk caused by undesirable or non-compliant conditions.

The ICLP uses the uninterrupted data collection about the condition of the items throughout the supply chain to quickly trace when and where the items may have been mishandled, damaged, or stolen. Objective traceability allows for correct attribution of the liability and facilitates faster resolution of the claims.

Supply chain transparency enables the companies to take corrective action immediately.

Optimize operations

It also helps improve forecasting, planning, and increases personnel productivity with automated shipping tracking. Direct integration of the ICLP into Azure IoT Hub or Azure IoT Central allows seamless adoption of a solution with enterprise-grade, hardware-enabled data protection built-in from the ground up.

The ILP provides better customer service and enhances the trust by delivering high-value items to the customers more reliably, safely, and on time.

Final Thoughts:

Tracking the journey of the shipments in the real-time is challenging for most manufacturers/suppliers. While there are solutions available in the market to log the location, real-time information about the asset condition is not easily accessible. eInfochips provides cost-effective and comprehensive connected supply chain/logistics solutions with real-time intelligence to enable quick action and continuous monitoring. eInfochips in partnership with Intel and Microsoft Azure provides Intel Connected Logistics Platform (ICLP) based solution by delivering platform deployment/implementation, sensor parameters definition, edge monitoring, alerts and notifications setup, sensors and gateways deployment, mobile application development/customization, BI and Data Analytics services.

Contact our experts today to know more about our Azure-powered IoT services.

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