Creating a Smart Asset-Tracking Solution for Pallet Monitoring and Beyond

Corporations around the world are acknowledging the importance of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the need for a solution that has the ability to identify, locate and track assets. This year, Gartner predicts that over half of major new business processes will incorporate some element of the IoT, and the industry where increased internet-connected physical devices will have the biggest impact is the supply chain.

Pallets are a critical component of most manufacturing facilities, and in effect, need to be a part of the supply chain discussion. According to Fortune Business Insights, “the warehousing and transportation sub-segment is projected to hold the largest pallet market share during the forecast period of 2019-2026,” driven by the growing global transportation and logistics industry.

There can be thousands of pallets housed in an average warehouse, constantly moving goods to ensure they reach their final destination, whether travelling by land, sea or rail. The ability to know where those pallets are in real-time is becoming a key differentiator as it can make operations more efficient. While earlier technology provided insights, it was often disjointed without a centralized system to organize the data being scanned with tools like RFID. When equipped with the right technology today, pallets can be tracked in real-time, making that data actionable.

In many cases, IoT solutions have been expensive or impractical to implement. One key challenge has been linking remote sensors wirelessly to the Internet across different sites, both indoors and outdoors and potentially in different countries, in a smooth manner that follows all steps of the supply chain. The optimal wireless linking technology should be inexpensive and secure, function over long distances, and have a substantial battery life. Short-range technologies fail to meet these requirements and while cellular technology offers longer range, battery life is too short.

To overcome these drawbacks, an ideal wireless link solution for pallet monitoring and broader logistics implementations should feature long-range and low power capabilities that can monitor in-motion assets with real-time location tracking from the beginning to the end of the delivery process. The following are a few key benefits of utilizing this type of technology:

  • Preventative and Predictive Maintenance: Monitoring the health of equipment used for pallet monitoring is essential for extending their lifetime. This offers better visibility for maintenance issues, which protects investments and reduces risks.
  • Theft Prevention: When traveling from factory floors to store shelves, theft is the most common way for items to go missing. With thousands of pallets to sift through in a warehouse, it’s easy for items to disappear, so having technology that enables real-time insight into where goods are is critical.
  • Efficiency: Traditional asset tracking technology is very taxing for workers, as it requires them to physically monitor each individual pallet with little help. By implementing IoT solutions to monitor these assets for them, corporations can allocate their resources better to place workers in more strategic roles.
  • Flexibility: A major perk of implementing a low-power, long-range solution into the supply chain is that assets can be tracked throughout all points of the journey. Whether a pallet is at an indoor facility or outside on a freight truck, workers can monitor its location no matter the environment. This added flexibility allows corporations to know exactly where their items are at all times.

Implementing an IoT solution that can address these needs enables smarter and simpler management of pallets and other assets within the supply chain. When applied in creative ways, this technology can make workers’ lives easier and help businesses cut costs for a quick ROI. Those using smart supply chain and logistics applications offer accessible and actionable data to users, which can help reduce inefficiencies and optimize processes.

As companies aim to streamline their supply chain and logistics processes, long-range and low power technologies can offer new solutions for smarter and improved asset management for pallet monitoring and more.

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