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Asset tracking at the speed of business with IoT

Maximize asset visibility no matter how dispersed your operations, or how complex your supply chain

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Keeping track of your company’s assets can be challenging, especially for organizations with multiple locations and dispersed operations, or when unplanned events disrupt normal supply chain operations. In these situations, you need to be able to track every point in your assets’ journey. Not doing so can create negative consequences for workflow, payroll, customer satisfaction, brand reputation and your bottom line.

Previous sensor-based technology, like RFID tags and data loggers, were a good first step but had limitations. RFID was expensive and took a long time to set up and program. Additionally, readability was inconsistent because certain substances, like metals and liquids, could interfere with transmission. Data loggers weren’t designed to track enough information and recorded only what happened to products at journey’s end, with none of the conditions along the way.

Perhaps you’re already managing a complex supply chain, or your company is growing. In either case each location will have unique inventory, staffing and technology needs. IoT improves on these older technology benefits, while reducing their risks and limitations. 

Global organizations using IoT identify asset management as their most adopted IoT initiative, a trend that has been accelerated by the impact of the novel Coronavirus. It can transform asset management processes by providing clear, real-time insights into what’s happening along the supply chain: indoor, in-transit and outdoor.

Man with clipboard

Indoor asset management

Effective asset management begins here; consider one of the most common aspects of indoor asset-tracking: taking inventory. In the past, one or more employees would, whether for order fulfillment or record-keeping, physically find an item, scan its barcode and update inventory. Accuracy relied on staff efficiency.

Possibilities for human error (and time wasted, as most employees can often be assigned more meaningful tasks) multiply as your indoor asset situation becomes more complex.

Indoor condition monitoring—particularly of cold chain products—can also suffer from human error. In food safety or medical supply situations, temperature must be measured frequently; employees may inadvertently change the conditions they’re meant to monitor and maintain by opening sealed doors or coming into contact with stock. IoT sensors that take these measurements can mitigate such risks.

In-transit asset management

IoT sensors can improve in-transit processes by providing real-time information about vehicle and cargo location, product condition, theft and other security issues, and delivery time. With such data being logged automatically, fleet vehicle operators can get back on the road faster, which could mean additional daily deliveries or shorter work days.

Perhaps more importantly, IoT sensors can feed massive amounts of information over time into a company’s data warehouse or data hub to track operational variables such as optimal routing, idling and hard braking, over- or under-used assets, scheduled versus actual arrival and departure times, or where cargo is most likely to receive damage or go missing.

Such insights can help you tweak or overhaul every aspect of your asset monitoring processes—to save man hours, reduce product write-offs, and maintain good partner and customer relationships by meeting SLAs.

Outdoor asset management

IoT can automate yard monitoring processes including tracking cargo, tools, equipment and vehicles; monitoring how outdoor resources are being used and how well they’re performing; and avoiding potential on-site traffic jams by helping drivers cross-dock when possible.

A smart IoT asset tracking system can flag problems before they happen—so your fleet operators aren’t scrambling to deal with unexpected complications when they arrive to offload goods or park their vehicles at the end of the day. This can reduce time spent problem-solving and keep workdays from running over into expensive overtime hours.

IoT can improve processes across your business

Bringing your asset tracking processes up-to-date using the power of IoT can give your organization a strong competitive advantage  while supporting business continuity.

If you’re tasked with improving how your organization approaches asset management, this checklist offers additional thought-starters about how IoT can streamline all your processes for greater efficiency, accuracy and preparedness—wherever your vehicles are in the shipment journey.