Businesses boost supply chain visibility with IoT technology

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Internet of Things (IoT) solutions are powerful tools for managing a supply chain.  Whether businesses are shipping a container overseas, moving an excavator to a new jobsite or carrying valuable equipment on an airplane, they want to know the location and health of their assets.

As Mobeen Khan of AT&T writes, supply chain managers need technology that does more than simply track the location of a shipment. A recent survey shows that 88 percent of respondents want greater insight and visibility, and improved damage, loss and theft prevention.1 They also want more sensors to gauge things like temperature, light and motion.

AT&T Cargo View with FlightSafe® is one technology that gives businesses a deeper look into their shipments. AT&T Cargo View allows supply chain managers to track and monitor precious cargo on land, sea and in the air with a single device by placing devices with sensors in shipping packages to monitor temperature, pressure, light and shock. Those managers that ship perishable items, such as fruit and vegetables, can decrease the likelihood of spoilage and waste. Businesses transporting high value items such as expensive art, name-brand apparel and electronics can also monitor their cargo with greater ease and visibility.

Crane Worldwide Logistics uses AT&T Cargo View at its Dallas warehouse. Crane is a multi-national third-party logistics provider. They transport high-value electronics, apparel and accessories across the U.S. They use warehouses to store the goods. AT&T Cargo View not only tracks the goods in real-time, but also shows if they have been tampered with or exposed to extreme temperatures, shock or light.

Securing cargo from departure to arrival is a must for museums and art galleries. Shipping fine art often involves special handling. Art dealers need around-the-clock visibility into the status of their valuable cargo. They want to know when an expensive sculpture or painting has veered off its travel path or if turbulence may have caused a crack or chip in the artwork.

Racine Berkow Associates is a company that transports artwork for museums, galleries and private collectors around the world. Before using AT&T Cargo View, there were greater costs and uncertainty over improper handling and risks. Racine Berkow had to send a human escort with the artwork for increased security and visibility. Cargo View trackers are now placed inside crates to precisely monitor the status of the artwork and help handlers better manage security.

The rapid pace of business has created the need for supply chain managers to work anytime and anywhere. It’s hard to imagine a logistics supervisor today without a smartphone or a tablet. Mobile devices make it easier for supply chain managers to track cargo virtually at any moment. Often, a sale depends on this.

For example, a construction company may urgently need to replace a piece of equipment at a jobsite. If the local equipment manufacturer doesn’t have it in stock, they may need to ship it from another city. IoT solutions let the supply chain manager track the equipment with a smartphone while it’s in transit.  The manager can re-route it if it’s held up or left behind. This visibility and control helps the equipment maker deliver quality service to complete the sale and keep customer loyalty.

One of the biggest challenges companies face today is building a clear strategy for managing their supply chain. Key decision-makers need somewhere to turn not only for the technology, but for counsel on IoT solutions that best fit their business. Cargo tracking technology provides more insight so companies can keep business running smoothly. As IoT solutions continue to evolve, supply chain managers will see increasing benefits from greater visibility, control, and insights they gain using IoT solutions about their assets in transit.

By Mobeen Khan, AVP, AT&T Industrial IoT Solutions

Mobeen KhanMobeen Khan is the AVP responsible for AT&T’s industrial and enterprise IoT strategy and product portfolio.  His responsibilities include formulating the long term industrial IoT portfolio, partnership strategy and product management. Khan joined AT&T with more than 15 years of progressive experience in technology marketing, business development, operations and strategy.




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