Internet of Things
ripe.io’s Blockchain of Food increases information transparency and coordination across the food supply chain by bringing together Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and blockchain technology. The startup is creating a dynamic scorecard system that measures growing, transportation and storage conditions to improve understanding of food provenance, alert the ecosystem for spoilage, and enable automated food purchasing based on optimal ripeness. Their technology provides a distributed, shared system of trust needed for the food supply chain to profoundly change and improve industry goals.
Roambee Corporation is an IoT supply chain and enterprise asset visibility company that is pushing the boundaries on the real-time visibility of assets and goods through the use of advanced technology. Roambee offers the Bee, which is a portable wireless locator packed with a variety of sensors that monitor shock and vibration, temperature, humidity, tampering and more. The device also has a global SIM within it that enables customers to monitor their shipments locally as well as globally. The Bee collects this data in real time and connects it to various back-end devices, such as an enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution. The technology takes 5,000 to 10,000 alerts about a shipment, and then, using rules defined in advance, trims that number to only those that require action.
Fresh produce is a $600 billion worldwide business that loses 30 percent of its product from farm to table. Much of this loss is caused by lack of product shelf life information throughout the supply chain. Because no one knows the freshness and shelf life of each carton or pallet of product, retailers suffer costly product shrink, and consumers are stuck with inconsistent quality products. FreshSurety tackles this problem with its Assured Freshness system, which has been trialed with leading producers and grocery retailers and employs the IoT to measure and report fresh produce’s quality and shelf life throughout the supply chain. This enables retailers to manage sourcing, inventory and merchandising based upon the actual shelf life of each pallet. The system prevents food loss by employing low-cost chemical sensors to measure metabolites emitted by fresh produce as it ages. The device collects data on temperature, humidity and pallet geolocation every 10 minutes throughout the life of each pallet. This information is transmitted to the cloud, where it is converted by product-specific food spoilage algorithms into a quantitative freshness score for individual cartons and pallets.
Smith Corona direct thermal and thermal transfer barcode labels are used not only to keep track of inventory, but to give shippers visibility into their product. Their most cost effective solution is the 4×6 Thermal Transfer Label, which is used by some of the largest logistics companies in the world. These durable labels, with freezer adhesive, provide strong protection against harsh elements and maintain their stick in deep freeze, frozen and chilled environments. They are great for cold storage or when an application requires a much stronger adhesive than normal. This item comes with four rolls to a box for a total of 4,000 labels.
Infratab recently unveiled smart cold chain apps and tags in its upgrade of Freshtime, its freshness monitoring suite of software apps and RF/NFC tags for perishables. Freshtime’s ability to calculate hours of freshness through its sensors and proprietary points system gives users insight into freshness budgeting for improved customer outcomes and an ability to monetize product freshness in a secure and data-efficient system. Tag-level improvements include: expansion of Near Field Communication (NFC) support, including full points log support, modifications for freezer use and better battery life, and greater sensitivity in user-selected ranges. Freshtime Go improvements include: Excel-supported reports and pdf reports, available with or without cloud access; automatic notifications to subscribers; customized versions of Freshtime Go, including user-level dashboards and customized sharing functions; support for additional RFID reader manufacturers and multiple attached readers; and addition of a web API. Freshtime Mobile (for Android and Windows phones; iOS support expected in first quarter of 2018) provides additional supply chain support, including tracking transports, transfers and groups, NFC and Ultra High Frequency (UHF) status checks; secure, confirmed and unconfirmed handovers; inspection notes; and tag and batch grouping functions.
FlexStr8 has developed a cost-effective, long-lasting, intelligent and disposable SmartLabel that provides users with a complete temperature history of perishable goods. The smart label has a one-year life span and a 28-kilobyte memory that holds up to 14,000 measurements. The disposable device, which is small enough to be integrated into packaging, has an internal accurate temperature sensor with a range of -20 degrees Celsius (C) to 50 degrees C. Communication with the tag is done through NFC, a wireless communication technology that is available on most mobile devices. Customers use the FlexStr8 android app to turn the label on or off, set log intervals (as short as every 5 seconds to as long as every 10 hours), and to define temperature limits. The system provides users with graphically displayed log data, which can be dumped to device memory, uploaded to the cloud, and/or emailed for further analysis. This information provides complete transparency on temperature, and allows companies to make corrections in real time and assign liability.
Track & Trace
DP World’s Where’s My Container? app gives users greater visibility into their cargo and improves speed-to-shelf opportunities. The app allows shippers and their freight forwarders to pinpoint the status of any container in the operator’s ports by inputting the container number. After entering the container number, the app allows carrier customers, as well as haulers, to see where the box is, according to one of five stages, as it makes its way from vessel to out-gate. The stages are: vessel at sea, on vessel at berth, on hold (often for customs inspections), available for collection and departed by road. The container tracking solution reduces administration and provides better data quality for DP customers’ planning and logistics efforts. DP World will roll out the solution in a phased manner, with its UK terminals getting access to it first.
ORBCOMM’s VesselConnect enables local and remote management and control of refrigerated containers on board a sea vessel. The solution helps ensure cargo integrity and reduces operating costs by allowing crews to locally monitor temperature, humidity, location and slot position, reefer status and more from the VesselConnect application on the ship, which also can be synchronized through the cloud for remote land-based access. It virtually eliminates the need for manual checks, enhancing efficiency and minimizing risks to crew, especially in inclement weather. Using on-board GSM infrastructure, powered by Vobal Technologies, VesselConnect creates a wireless local data transport network on the ship, enabling refrigerated and other containers fitted with GPS/GSM modem devices to continue to report while the vessel is on the water. This low-infrastructure system can be installed with no downtime to ensure immediate vessel redeployment. Deck crew receive real-time event-based alerts on handheld devices, so they can take immediate action, while office-based crew can access the central terminal, which displays all bays and containers at a glance on an icon-based interface that can be easily and universally interpreted and understood.
MacroPoint’s freight visibility platform seamlessly integrates with logistics service providers and automatically produces frequent and detailed updates on the status of shipments. The platform’s advanced tools provide essential tracking information food companies need to compete by directly integrating with enterprise and transportation management systems. Because the rapid growth of freight tracking meets a distinct need and provides higher supply chain productivity and efficiency, MacroPoint’s platform is essential to accurately calculate and determine the Total Cost of Visibility (TCV) of any solution. The cost factors for freight visibility solutions include: the number of loads tracked, the ratio of manually tracked loads versus those tracked through automated solutions such as MacroPoint’s platform, the cost per load for automated tracking, and the cost per load for manual tracking. Knowing your true TCV relies on an understanding of the solution you are deploying and your exact costs for manual and automated tracking processes. TCV also can be measured in productivity and efficiency, such as the number of reassigned roles from manual check call resources to other areas of the food supply chain. Visibility is no longer an added benefit; it now is an indispensable business need.
IT Rationale Inc.’s Enterprise Container Management (ECM) solution uses NetSuite’s cloud technology to provide robust data related to shipments moving via ocean carriers. ECM allows consolidation of purchase orders into single or multiple containers and provides intelligent tracking of goods throughout the journey. It also provides status updates on product availability, along with the estimated time of arrival (ETA) dates during the sales cycles, and makes booking customer orders easy and accurate. Including the Advanced Landed Cost module allows you to apply both distributed and direct landed costs to shipments before they are received at the warehouse.
ELD & Fleet Management
Paragon Software Systems route planning software was designed to help transportation planners harness data gathered to comply with the ELD mandate to drive greater operational efficiency. Reporting functionality available in Paragon’s route planning software can be used to analyze data, including HoS information, truck utilization and on-time delivery performance, to identify areas for improvement, which can help transportation operations plan more effectively and counter feared productivity losses arising from compliance with the rule. The logging devices also can record a wide range of data points, such as date, time, location information, ignition events, engine hours, vehicle miles, speeding, harsh braking and idling. The software interfaces with a wide range of vehicle tracking and ELD systems via the Paragon Route Execution module. This allows customers the freedom to choose their preferred electronic log vendor or multiple log vendors if more than one type of device is used across the operation. It manages transportation plans in real time, allowing transportation managers to see where trucks are on the road and how the day’s plan is progressing at any given time. By integrating with vehicle tracking systems, Route Execution can alert management to any vehicles that are running late or early, so that it can make timely alternative arrangements, such as diverting another nearby vehicle to make a scheduled pickup or contacting the customer to inform them of late running. Paragon’s route planning software also can help planners create more precise truck distribution routes, which can help operators more easily comply with the HoS regulations.
Zebra Technologies’ SmartPack Trailer provides the transportation and logistics industry with real-time operational visibility. This innovative technology lowers operational costs while improving efficiency in loading trailers, along with load quality, staff training and safety. SmartPack Trailer represents the first in a portfolio of solutions that can help public and private carriers of freight and parcels across ground and air transport modalities build a smarter, more connected distribution network, resulting in real-time, informed decision-making that improves loading operations. SmartPack Trailer captures operational data, such as load density, trailer fullness, images of loads in progress, and number of packages scanned and loaded per hour, giving organizations insights to achieve peak levels of performance and profitability. Additionally, the solution delivers on Zebra’s Enterprise Asset Intelligence (EAI) strategy by sensing operational data at the point of activity, and then analyzing that data to derive actionable insights for personnel and dock managers. Due to a lack of visibility in the loading process, trailers often are loaded improperly, wasting available space. SmartPack Trailer solves this issue by drawing actionable insight from data provided by 3D sensors and camera technology on the loading dock, allowing organizations to eliminate wasted space and time. This helps decrease the number of trailers on the road, thereby reducing fuel and maintenance costs.
ELD Solutions (ELDS) has introduced an ELD for the trucking industry and is accepting orders for subscription services. The ELDS’ product was created with input by trucking industry veterans and uses technology developed over the past decade. It is designed to simplify the compliance process for companies affected by the ELD mandate. The company offers basic, deluxe and premium ELD subscriptions. Customers can mix and match device types throughout their fleet, providing carriers the ability to customize their solution. All packages come with an ELD Module and ECM plug. Dedicated device packages also include an 8- or 9.6-inch tablet and a rugged case with a monthly subscription.
AlertGPS Inc.’s Alert ELD system meets the ELD mandate compliance solution for optimizing fleet management by recording HoS. It is registered and certified with the FMCSA, and is designed for fleet owners who want to reduce HoS violations and paperwork while improving safety. The system features GPS fleet tracking software that is integrated with an ELD, providing fleet owners with an easy-to-use, real-time tracking solution for complying with the FMCSA’s ELD mandate. The system also can help fleet managers increase productivity, improve HoS recording accuracy, save fuel and time, reduce company costs, improve safety and security, enhance customer service and, reduce unauthorized vehicle use.
Warehousing & Cold Storage
The RT4500-DO Robotic Tugger is a multipurpose, fully autonomous, mobile robotic solution for material handling that requires no infrastructure changes. Capable of pulling up to 4,500 kilograms, it can carry items ranging from fully loaded shelves or cages to pallets. It can be deployed in a wide range of scenarios, including goods-to-person and lineside supply. Additionally, the RT4500-DO coordinates with all of Vecna's other material handling solutions via their intelligent Fleet Manager, integrating directly with a company’s Warehouse Management System (WMS) for automatic dispatching and fleet management, and comes with Vecna’s Remote Assist and VGo Telepresence solutions to offer comprehensive remote technical support.
Locus Robotics has introduced Locus Robotics Advanced Navigation (LRAN), which advances Locus’ autonomous robotics navigation software, enabling multi-robot warehouse fulfillment for retailers and third-party logistics (3PLs) providers. Prior to this introduction, it was challenging to have multiple robots operate in a coordinated fashion in a warehouse environment. The LRAN system can support large numbers of robots, operating seamlessly and collaboratively alongside workers in a warehouse. Locus Robotics currently has eight LRAN deployments in North America. The LRAN software has been deployed to these sites through Locus’ automatic cloud distribution system, and the company reports its customers have already noted immediate improvements in navigational accuracy and pick performance rates.
DSA Systems has developed an order picking application for smart glasses, called “Pick by Vision,” and developed into a market-ready solution. Picavi Glass incorporates augmented reality into a visual display headset that will interface with a warehouse’s WMS, optimizing picking order efficiency and accuracy. The glasses also feature an integrated barcode scanner and ring scanner. The picker leaves both hands free to work, with one look, one pick and done. Optimized routes allow the picker to move quickly from one pick to the next, saving both time and unnecessary distance. These headsets are being used successfully in several warehouses of different sizes and in different sectors globally. Picavi reports that the acceptance of the technology by workers is very high, with the error rate minimizes close to zero. Additionally, Picavi ensures up to 40 percent in time savings.
It is a known fact that cold storage units consume about 30 to 50 percent more energy than they should, a huge consideration as utility costs continue to rise, especially during periods of peak electrical use. National Resource Management Inc. offers web-based refrigeration controls that can minimize electrical demand during peak periods, while optimizing overall refrigeration system operation through strategic scheduling of loads. Operators can use this remote-based system to efficiently operate coolers and obtain use histories from their mobile phones. These web-based controls have been available since 2000, with a phone app added in 2003. Since that time, National Resource Management Inc. has been responsible for 40,000 retrofits of inefficient coolers in refrigeration facilities.
The CVP-500 automated packing solution was selected from more than 150 entries as the winner of the prestigious 2017 MHI Innovation Award in the Best New Innovation category, due to its fit-to-size packing automation that optimizes all steps of order fulfillment. The system builds, fills, folds and labels single and multi-item orders every seven seconds, and completely eliminates void fill. The fit-to-size parcel reduces package volume up to 50 percent and includes ProShip’s multi-carrier shipping software that can “rate shop” up to 70 potential carriers for the lowest possible shipping costs, saving retailers and customers $1 to $2 in shipping costs per parcel. Additionally, ProShip claims the system increases throughput and speed while driving out unnecessary costs, resulting in an 88 percent reduction in packaging labor, 32 percent reduction in shipping and dimensional weight (DIM) costs, 20 percent reduction in corrugated material, and 50 percent reduction in shipping volume and the elimination of void fill costs.
Safety & Security
Food and beverage represents the No. 1 target for cargo thieves. While keeping stolen product off the market is obviously a priority, so too is protecting drivers who transport these cargoes. Citadel’s driver emergency response system is a new product in that effort, consisting of a fob that drivers clip to their belt or wear on a lanyard around the neck. The fob features two-way voice communication with built-in speakers, nationwide coverage that operates on the local cellular network, and a 24/7 U.S.-based monitoring and dispatch team that is trained to quickly assess any situation and dispatch appropriate emergency services. Citadel’s device is charged via a cradle or charger cord and is designed to go with the driver, not the vehicle.
CarriersEdge offers the Food Safety for Drivers training module, which is designed to help drivers meet the requirements of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This 30-minute module uses images, interactivity and real-life examples to cover what drivers need to know about preparing themselves and their trailers for transporting food in accordance with FSMA regulations. The module uses quizzes and a final test, which carriers can use to maintain food safety training records. Once drivers complete the module, they will be able to describe the hazards that cause food contamination, detail how food borne illnesses occur, explain the purpose of FSMA regulations and understand their roles in keeping food safe.
The Raymond Corp. introduced virtual reality (VR) training for forklift operators this spring at ProMat 2017 in Chicago. The tool allows operators to use a Raymond forklift truck in simulation mode for training using preprogrammed exercises. After securing the VR headset, the user is immersed into an enhanced training experience that simulates the movement and feel of operating a Raymond forklift in a warehouse environment while using the truck’s actual controls. This experience has been designed as a supplemental training tool and also can be used to help new forklift operators become comfortable with the vehicle and its controls before ever operating within a warehouse environment. Raymond’s design is unique in that the tool can be plugged directly into the forklift.
SmartDrive 360 expanded its on-demand video capability in April with triggering on up to four cameras simultaneously based upon high-risk maneuvers, providing better insight into frequent causes of collisions and clearly exonerating drivers in all collision types. In addition to delivering an unprecedented level of coverage, SmartDrive 360 provides the fastest insight to risk. Offloaded in minutes, and in most cases, reviewed by an expert driving analyst within one hour, confirmed collisions and alerts are sent to customers, so they can react swiftly to the incident. This immediate access to video allows fleets to improve their safety programs, reduce claims processes and increase safety measures. Since 35 percent of collisions are side and rear incidents, a growing number of fleets are adding more cameras to their trucks. By capturing triggered video across these additional cameras, fleets can now gain immediate visibility to the highest risk—and most costly events—in and around their vehicles. The new SmartDrive 360 multi-camera triggering makes it easy for customers to quickly access and view the complete picture of high-risk events. When a vehicle with SmartDrive 360 experiences a risky maneuver, such as swerve, U-turn, high impact/collision, or the driver initiates a manual recording, video is captured from all four cameras. The video is then automatically offloaded from the SmartRecorder, along with the in-cab and forward-facing camera views. Previously, these videos were only available on-demand.
BSI Supply Chain Services and Solutions has released food safety and fraud intelligence and assessment management modules to help the food industry take a proactive approach to potential threats that could affect their customers, brand and bottom line. The new modules allow users to monitor and assess the threat of food contamination, food adulteration, mislabeling, recalls and otherwise deceptive food and beverage products. BSI’s web-based intelligence solution, Supply Chain Risk Exposure Evaluation Network (SCREEN), has launched two risk indicators, food safety and food fraud, that provide threat ratings for 200+ countries, along with interactive risk maps and qualitative reports. SCREEN’s Food Module provides insight into food safety and fraud risks, as well as global security, corporate social responsibility and business continuity threats and trends that could impact the food supply chain. Additionally, it provides real-time updates regarding food-related incidents. BSI also has released a Supplier Compliance Manager (SCM) Food Module to help food manufacturers and retailers assess the quality, safety and security of their supply chain and business partners. SCM is a web-based, automated assessment management solution that allows users to fully manage the assessment process from beginning to end. SCM provides a single solution to manage self-assessments, on-site audits, corrective actions, communications and more, along with a robust dashboard to track progress year-over-year.
Werner Enterprises launched the Werner Final Mile app in May as a logistics solution for the last-mile of delivery. Werner Final Mile will primarily deliver large or heavy items using two uniformed associates operating a lift gate straight truck. The software platform was carefully developed over the last year and allows for fully automated, high volume e-commerce delivery of non-conveyable products, from white-glove home and business deliveries, including returns and exchanges. Key features include a barcode scanner that allows the user to scan on the bill of lading (BOL) to instantly view the consignee’s name, address and phone number, as well as important product information. Additionally, overage, shortage, or damage issues (OS&D) can be reported in the app. Photos of damage and instructions are directly delivered to the app through the dispatcher.
PayApp by iControl is a business-to-business (B2B) mobile payments solution providing suppliers and distributors with a cost-effective and streamlined solution to invoice and collect payments from independent and small merchants in the field or from a centralized accounting office. PayApp also improves the availability of invoices, as they are presented electronically to the merchant, while providing the ability to process payment via bank transfer, saved credit cards, physical card swiping, and even a submitted check capture. iControl’s PayAppPRO is designed for electronic payment requests, processing and tracking at enterprise level, and it provides merchants with centralized approval and processing of business services payment requests.
The Telogis Spotlight mobile app gives supervisors and fleet managers an easy-to-read snapshot of what’s happening in the field by providing up-to-date analytics about the health of their vehicles and driver performance. Spotlight highlights critical data and areas of concern. Spotlight automatically curates important analytics information into dashboards and scorecards and helps interpret the severity of vehicles’ diagnostic trouble codes. Field managers can easily locate and contact their teams in the field through the app and receive visual representations about safety, fuel efficiency and vehicle health, as well as nearby vehicles and drivers in either map or list views. Managers also can set up push notifications for key information and can easily share insights and information with others. The company also has enhanced the Telogis Compliance app for managing FMCSA regulations for HoS requirements to help simplify meeting this mandate. The improved Telogis Compliance app ensures drivers’ HoS logs are up to date, while supporting federal and state rules, as well as widely used local exemptions. The app has an intuitive design that allows drivers to easily provide information to law enforcement during an inspection.
Zello is an instant communication app that turns a smartphone, tablet or PC into a push-to-talk-over-cellular (PoC) device. The benefits of Zello over using regular two-way radios or a phone include: clearer communications, unlimited range, Wi-Fi or cellular data network accessibility, and conversations on a private network. Plus, when paired with accessories like those from Pryme Radio, Zello users can have hands-free push-to-talk (PTT) communications. Zello provides two PoC solutions via smartphone applications: a free consumer-grade service and an enterprise-grade service known as ZelloWork that provides greater levels of reliability and security. Zello is useful in any situation where workers need to communicate quickly, no matter where they are—whether it be the warehouse
Uber Freight is a new service from the ride hailing company that pairs up trucking companies, including independent operators, with loads that need to be hauled from one place to another. The app looks a lot like the main Uber app, but is targeted toward vetted and approved drivers who can browse for nearby available loads, see destination information, distance required and payment upfront, and then simply tap to book. The app, which is downloaded on a mobile device, takes the guesswork out of finding and booking freight, and eliminates the anxiety of load confirmation with an instant confirmation notice. Additionally, it makes payment easy, with a commitment of payment within a few days rather than the current standard of 30 days or more.
SCM, Integration & Optimization
Kewill and LeanLogistics rebranded as BluJay Solutions in December, revealing the BluJay Global Trade Network, a new model that goes beyond automation to help organizations harness the full power of the global supply chain ecosystem. With more than 40,000 carriers, shippers, forwarders, suppliers and local strategic partnerships (LSPs), the BluJay Global Trade Network is one of the largest in the world, creating a powerful network that delivers the benefits of universal connectivity among participants. With BluJay, organizations can easily manage goods and services across an integrated global trade network; rapidly onboard services, carriers, customers and business units; and actively collaborate with trade participants to expedite trade logistics. BluJay captures all data streaming across the network, so that organizations can analyze and operationalize it to their advantage. One of the design principles for BluJay’s Global Trade Network is full integrity, ensuring frictionless and more efficient movement of goods across any border. The product is designed to constantly reflect and incorporate regulatory requirements back into the solution, keeping customers current with regulations. In addition, the whole concept of the global trade network is speed, bringing capacity to bear where ordinarily there isn’t capacity.