Quality supply chain management is all about getting the right product/goods delivered at the right place and time—all while using resources efficiently along the way. Mixing technology and your managerial skills to accomplish these goals is one of the best methods that leads to success. Indeed, technology has come a long way in the past two decades to make supply chain management easier than ever. There are now many amazing technology tools that can be used in supply chain monitoring and management. There are many amazing technology tools that can be used for supply chain monitoring and management, limited only by your company’s imagination. Here are five of our favorites.
This article was originally published by California Business Journal.
Impact indicators are small devices that can be placed on products, cargo, or packaging to help keep track of the viability of the shipment as it moves along the supply chain. It’s simply a device that will turn red once it hits a certain gravity Force threshold. Typically this can be between 2 and 75 Gs—which is quite a bit of force when you sit down to think about it. Impacts in hidden damage cost companies quite a bit of money every year. Global losses related to damage, theft, and other supply chain issues exceed $50 billion dollars. That’s quite a chunk of change. It’s not just a monetary loss, however, when shipments get damaged. There’s reputation, loss, angry customers, and the costs of replacement / repairs to heavy items that get damaged along supply lanes.
Ultimately, using a simple tool like an impact indicator or shock alert device is going to ensure the safety of your products and during transport and the viability of them once they’re delivered. Preventing damage and loss should be a top priority, and with this wonderful bit of technology, you should be able to readily accomplish that goal
Another issue aside from shocks and impacts that can affect your cargo is vibrations. Unlike the Beach Boys, you don’t want to pick up good vibrations when you’re shipping goods! As vehicles move around along roads, vibrations can occur at any stage along the supply chain. This could be due to vehicle issues, bumpy roads, unexpected construction, strange terrain, or any number of other factors. Vibration sensors are small devices that can be placed on cargo or in the vehicle and can help you identify where things are getting damaged or experiencing extreme vibrations along the route. This helps avoid disruptions in the supply chains and keeps goods moving along smoothly. Without such simple devices being used in conjunction with impact monitors/recorders, you put yourself at risk of further damage along your supply lanes. So, take the extra step to ensure the safety of your shipments by adding a vibration monitor to your regular rotation of supply chain/logistics tools.
High humidity and moisture are the natural enemy of anything that’s shipped in cargo. Humidity sensors are useful for monitoring cargo for strange or high humidity levels throughout the supply chain. Whether it’s in the production facility, warehouses, distribution centers, or merely moving along a supply route, humidity can strike at any time. Using A humidity sensor helps ensure your cargo is stored in a safe environment where the levels are consistent and within acceptable ranges. That way, you don’t have to worry about humidity or moisture damage throwing a wrench in your supply chain—or adversely affecting high value goods along the way!
Sometimes, you might find yourself transporting goods that need to be refrigerated or frozen. Food, pharmaceuticals, vaccines, and other products require certain temperatures to remain in good condition. Once again, technology can swoop in to the rescue! Using a temperature indicator and monitor for each shipment can mean the difference between a quality delivery and excessive spoilage. Most temperature indicators are small devices that can be stuck onto cargo. Once it meets a certain temperature threshold or is exposed to a particular temperature for a designated amount of time, it’ll change color to show that it has been compromised. The depth of the color and the range of the temperature indicator can help inform decisions about whether an item is compromised or needs to be replaced, making it one of the most invaluable tools to have when shipping fragile cargo.
RFID Asset Tags
RFID tags are small, electronic devices that can be attached to or implanted into objects and used to track their movements. They emit radio signals that can be detected by an RFID reader to retrieve information about cargo. RFID tags have a plenty of potential uses in supply chains. Want to track some inventory as it moves through warehouses and distribution centers? RFID tags can help. Need to ensure your company isn’t shipping recalled products or are you looking to deter theft? They can help there too. RFID tags can also track shipments and vital information about them—including location, movement, temperature, and vibrations/shocks. As items move along the supply chain, keeping an eye on their status is critical to ensuring they arrive at their destination.
Ultimately, RFID is ideal for helping to rescue valuable inventory from shipment errors and tracking issues. Using RFID tags for asset tracking has revolutionized how businesses manage inventory along the supply chain, making it a powerful technology tool most logistics managers can’t live without.