Published on 30 oct. 2019 In: Trend
Optimization of goods flows, asset tracking, anti-theft equipment are answers to the challenge of the logistics sector digitization. Find out how IoT impacts the supply chain in a positive way and allows companies to optimize their maintenance, time and costs.
In the logistics sector, one of the main challenges is the digitization of the supply chain in order to optimize time, tasks and investments. In fact, longer distances, shorter lead times, fluctuating quantities depending on the period, are forcing logistics companies to take the shift in logistics 4.0. However, as this sector is complex because of its numerous actors (producers-platforms-carriers, etc.), it is not always easy for companies to know where to start: IoT? Artificial intelligence? Drop-shipping? etc.
In this article, we focus on connected objects and the positive impact they can have on the supply chain. Optimizing the flow of goods, asset tracking, anti-theft equipment, discover how the IoT transforms logistics platforms through three examples of digitalization.
For logistics companies, the tracking of goods is a real challenge to know where in the chain the goods are, from their departure from the factory, until delivery to the customer. For many years, logisticians have been using passive RFID tag systems or barcodes, but these technologies need a lot of manual operations. The latter can therefore be the cause of delays or errors, not allowing 100% optimization of the time and tasks of the workers.
However, it is now possible to track goods and pallets thanks to wireless communication technologies such as active RFID or Bluetooth Low Energy. These wireless communication protocols have detection ranges of up to several hundred meters to cover warehouses of several hundred square meters.
Renault, for example, has set up a tracking solution for goods (spare parts) based on a technological mix between active and passive RFID. Corridors are equipped with long-range active RFID chips and spare parts are equipped with passive RFID chips. The pallet trucks are equipped with passive and active RFID readers and allow to know in real time the position of each pallet truck and the parts taken into account, transported or deposited. This bi-technology makes it possible to optimize the logistics corridors and thus save the handlers time.
Today, several wireless technologies meet this need for indoor location such as ultra wideband, Active RFID, Angle of Arrival (AOA) or Mesh technology. The latter can be deployed easily without wiring, and ensuring a location accuracy of 5 and 10 meters which is enough to locate logistics equipment.
This wireless communication technology allows connected objects to communicate with each other and to put back raw data of positions and movements indoors via a gateway, which are then transformed into GPS data by a positioning tool.
Thanks to this one, it is possible to know in real time where the different equipments are positioned, but also to follow their course inside the site. It make it possible to know their occupation rate, to ensure their maintenance and thus to reduce investments related to the purchase of equipment . MESH + BLE bi-technology also makes it possible to follow a product in Indoor, Outdoor but also during the transport between sites thanks to the geolocalisation boxes which become gradually compatible BLE.
Connected objects make it possible to remotely inventory equipment and goods, but they also make it possible to secure them. Indeed, protecting logistic platforms against theft of their equipment is a challenge that the IoT players successfully meet.
Active RFID technology embedded in wireless beacons makes it possible to respond to these security issues in a very efficient way. By equipping logistics trucks with active RFID tags, it is possible to detect any unauthorized zone exit in real time. When an equipment is forgotten in a truck, it is immediately detected by the antennas when the truck comes to the exit barrier. This system can trigger a light signal and / or sound in the guard and prevent the opening of the barrier if necessary.
This type of solution discreetly secures logistics equipment and thus reduces the costs associated with the purchase of equipment.
In a world where everything is going faster and faster, where customers want shorter and shorter lead times, the logistics sector must reinvent itself and evolve to meet the demands of the market. It is obvious that connected objects contribute to the transformation of the logistician profession by optimizing it, thus allowing more time for tasks with high added value. The other aspect is obviously financial, by optimizing maintenance and security of logistic equipment, the IoT can significantly reduce unnecessary investments.
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