Real-time, transparent and seamless indoor/outdoor tracking of assets and optimizing logistics and supply chains have long been the focus of some of the most innovative companies around the globe. IoT and, in particular, LoRaWAN® technology is on the cusp of ushering in a whole new era of end-to-end supply chain monitoring over long distances at low cost.
There are seemingly infinite possibilities and opportunities to optimize companies’ logistics operations beyond just tracking a good from one port or warehouse to another, even though this is still a massive challenge, particularly across vast oceans. Cargo can still be lost or misplaced to this day, resulting in significant loss of revenue.
In fact, the supply chain can be broken down into several subcategories, such as asset tracking, fleet management, in transit monitoring, managing information flow as well as optimizing the way goods are handled within a distribution center itself. There are layers upon layers of factors that need to be monitored.
A good example of this complexity can be found within Cold Chain Management, where a food or pharmaceutical needs to travel long-distances at tightly controlled temperatures. Meanwhile, they are carried by returnable assets, such as crates, which themselves are costly if discarded and not reused as intended. Then, there’s the fact that managers have no visibility into what happens in route or why if they receive damaged goods at the receiving warehouse. Who or what is to blame? How can this issue be rectified?
Smart logistics solutions offer unprecedented visibility and accuracy throughout the modern supply chain. Once an operation lays down the network infrastructure, which is flexible enough to integrate with legacy systems, connected indoor-outdoor sensors can be deployed within facilities, cargo containers, pallets, trucks, boats, planes, etc. Data can then be shared via new applications or a company’s existing Logistics Information System. Managers receive alerts on any anomalies, delays, or misplacement that occur from point A to B.
LoRaWAN® for enhanced mobility in logistics
The low-power, long-range capabilities of LoRaWAN technology make all this possible. No other solutions provide the dynamic, real-time visibility and transportation management capabilities over wide distances by land, sea and air. LoRa-powered tracking devices and sensors can be mounted on containers, vehicles and within returnable assets, continuously sending data on conditions and location for months or even years without changing batteries.
In addition, LoRaWAN has six times more battery life than NB-IoT for static assets and supports mobility and private networks without blocking or interfering with the more expensive LTE spectrum. LoRaWAN is the most cost effective solution for both indoor and outdoor coverage and geolocation for battery-powered devices, providing, for example, automated inventory across multiple sites, countries, company divisions and so forth. All this is done without any manual intervention.
Both automotive and aviation manufacturers have rapidly deployed private networks on site and without the need of coverage during transport. These private networks can be managed by operators or system integrators.
When it comes to returnable asset tracking, these manufacturers have embraced LoRaWAN. They can better ensure that assets such as metal racks used to carry vehicle parts between supplier factories, warehouses and assembly signs are returned to their original locations for reuse. This continuous cycle represent significant cost-savings.
End-to-end tracking of goods through the supply chain. Low-cost location tracking and monitoring of conditions in transit.
Tracking vehicles can help improve handling and storage conditions of goods in route as well as increase safety, protect against theft and litigation.
Sensors optimize the handling of goods and increase security as well as allow for automated reordering of inventory at warehouses, ports, docks, airports, etc.
Sensors providing real-time data and visibility of goods, especially perishable products greatly increase managers’ ability to prevent or solve problems before it’s too late.