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Real-time supply-chain monitoring for retailers

How sensor technology can help retailers monitor transport routes and check the quality of goods in transit

Real-time tracking of goods: sensor data shows delivery status and product freshness

When it comes to food logistics – whether for brick-and-mortar outlets or online stores – the key challenge is always “the last mile.” This is particularly so for fresh and perishable produce, where an efficient supply chain not only guarantees that goods are delivered on time but also ensures that they are in perfect condition. A tracking system that monitors load carriers along the entire supply chain can help bring about lasting improvements in efficiency.

  • Real-time tracking provides stakeholders with a constant overview of the supply chain. It tells them the present location of load carriers such as trailers, containers, steel trolleys, reusable pallets and boxes. And, if required, it will also reveal whether load carriers are full or empty and what kind of goods they are carrying.
  • Load carriers equipped with IoT devices such as sensors and IoT gateways send regular updates on their whereabouts to the cloud. Any alterations to scheduling can therefore be identified early on, thereby enabling proactive intervention.
  • Sensors also provide other information such as the temperature in the load carrier or excess jolting and vibrations during transit.

Benefits at a glance

  • Transparency on the location and condition of goods along the entire supply chain.
  • Stakeholders obtain information on other factors that affect product quality, such as temperature, jolting, vibrations etc.

How retailers benefit from real-time tracking

Reliable planning for the transport of goods

Real-time tracking can cover complex supply chains and provide a detailed picture of the precise location of load carriers along the entire supply chain (including transport). This means that planners always know when specific goods are going to arrive.

Better assessment of product quality

In addition to identifying the location of goods, sensors also provide information on their condition. This tells retailers whether transport has impaired the quality of the goods. For example, the correct temperature during transit helps ensure that perishable produce arrives in perfect condition. Similarly, excessive vibrations or jolting can damage goods.

Automatic logging of incoming goods

Gateways installed at locations automatically log when goods arrive, assigning the correct status to the consignment and sending this information, via an interface, to the inventory management system. This eliminates the need for scanning and speeds up the availability of goods within the system – including for online outlets.

Easy setup

Installation of the tracking solution is by means of an easy plug-and-play process. The hardware – sensors and gateways – is supplied as a managed service, meaning that it is always up to date. An intuitive user interface provides detailed insights into transport data and makes it available to all stakeholders.

How warehouse facilities benefit from real-time tracking

Reducing the work to locate, log, and inventory

Management of load carriers normally involves a continuous process of locating, logging, and inventorying. Real-time tracking eliminates this. Warehouse operatives can directly call up the status and location of an individual load carrier.

Transporting more with the same number of load carriers

The availability of detailed information on load carriers means that a logistics operation can transport a greater quantity of goods with the same number of load carriers. Warehouse operatives can now determine at a glance the location of empty load carriers, thereby eliminating the need for extra load carriers to buffer at times of peak capacity. This also reduces the requirement for new capital expenditure.

Reducing the loss of load carriers and capital expenditure on replacements

Real-time tracking also substantially lowers the number of missing load carriers, thereby significantly reducing this cost factor.

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