Supply chain visibility risk mitigation with IoT

Supply chain visibility risk mitigation with IoT

Natalia Figas
January 20, 2021  | 3 min read

Wouldn't it be great if every single vulnerability or risk that exists was recognised very early, making your supply chain visible and resilient to disruptions?

I hope we both agree that it would be fantastic.

To improve risks recognition, however, you must introduce the supply chain visibility solutions to your company.

Wait, wait, wait, you might think. Supply chain visibility solutions? Isn't it a bit too much?

The better you know the risks, the better you can face them without stress, right?

Supply chain visibility creates a difference between responding to disruptions when they appear and preparing to them BEFORE hard times come.

Think about it. If you do not mitigate risks right away, you will expose your supply chain to consequences such as not delivering on time.

You made an effort to have the best business version of your supply chain, right? You worked hard at it. You spent a lot of time improving all the details.

But if you do not know where your vulnerabilities are, you will waste all the effort when you encounter the first obstacle.

If you want to mitigate a critical risk before it happens, you must start to collect data and communicate across the supply chain... and arm yourself with a bit of patience.

Let me show you what risks you can minimise with proper solutions.

 

Risk #1: The unknown location of your shipment

To build visibility for your business, you need to be conscious of your deliveries' current locations.

The moment a truck driver hits the road, there is a possibility of an accident or traffic and - as a consequence - shipment delay or destruction.

Tracking and tracing your shipment location has one single purpose: to deliver information about unexpected road events. With this piece of knowledge, you can react whenever it is necessary and take the shipment to another point of destination safely.

If you do not know where the truck is or was and what happened along the way, your business may be in trouble.

 

Information circulation

Let us consider your shipment got stuck somewhere, like in this case.

What potentially can you do? Inform your client or subcontractor, or any necessary people about the situation. It is a constructive yet straightforward approach that will set you as a transparent and reliable entity.

 

Suspicious stops discovered

There are industries for which safety is a priority - for example, the jewellery industry.

When transporting high-value goods, there cannot be situations in which you do not know what is happening on the route. IoT devices can tell you where your car had additional stops, during which you were exposed to financial losses.

 

Risk #2: The unknown condition of your shipment

Check out these screenshots from IoT devices tests conducted by Skyrise.tech.

the shipments waypoint displayed in TrustedGlobals platform

There is a marker notifying about the unwanted event: shock.

Counterintuitive to what may you think, that is excellent information.

Why? Because it provides you with data about:

  • route course,
  • dangerous events,
  • the exact time the event occurred.

IoT is a great tool here. With a smart device, you can analyse the circumstances along the way. Thus, in the future, you can optimise the road and avoid or at least minimise potentially dangerous events.

Without the data to be analysed, you cannot know if the taken road is the best for the cargo.

Luckily for you, the technology of IoT exploded in the last few years. The market offers you loads of smart solutions to improve visibility in your supply chain.

But before spending money on IoT shopping, you need to consider a few facts.

What to begin with?

 

Sensors

First, you need to know what you want to track or trace. There are IoT devices dedicated to tracking shock, and there are devices dedicated to tracking light intensity.

Sensors can collect data on:

  • position,
  • utilisation,
  • shock, vibration,
  • tilt, motion,
  • light intensity,
  • temperature,
  • humidity.

For instance, if you want to monitor at what temperature are the medicines transported, you will reach for an IoT device with a temperature sensor. But if you need to monitor the unit's shocks during transportation, you will choose a different IoT solution.

Correctly identified needs make it easy to collect useful data.

Of course, there is more to be considered before selecting an IoT device.

 

Dimensions

It would be best if you were sure that the dimensions of your device fit the shipment. These appliances come in many different forms.

Some of them are small, fitting an envelope and others are as big as dock cards.

You need to be sure that the device you are willing to use is big or small enough for your purposes. If you somehow lose the device, you will not collect data about the shipment.

 

Platform

Check what the platform which the device sends information to looks like. Is it readable to you? Is it comfortable? In what format is the data aggregated? The answers to these questions will help you choose the right provider.

There is one more thing worth paying attention to. Does the platform have an open API?

 

Battery

Additionally, you have to be sure that the device's battery will last the whole trip.

Battery life is a factor that does not need any explanation.

The matter is simple: if the battery is dead, the device does not record data.

 

Summary

The solutions you use to increase your supply chain visibility have a real impact on reducing the risks that appear on the horizon.

Supply chain visibility gains a lot with IoT. With a proper device, you can:

  • monitor the physical location of your goods and assets,
  • analyse data from the road,
  • optimise roads or stops,
  • monitor the cargo's conditions,
  • and what is most important - be proactive rather than reactive.

Consider using IoT in your business to mitigate the risk of delivery delay or cargo destruction.

In this article, we discussed the risks associated with the location and condition of your shipments.

See this article if you want to learn more about your business's other benefits from supply chain visibility solutions.

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