IoT plays a major role in the perishable supply chain

  • Machina Research says there will be 69 million M2M connections in the supply chain by 2023.

  • The perishable supply chain is highly susceptible to even the smallest irregularities.

  • Companies are using IoT solutions to create intelligent container fleets with more visibility at every stage of the cycle.

I’m excited to be at Cool Logistics this week, where industry leaders are gathering to discuss ways to create a safer, more efficient perishable supply chain. When it comes to the cold supply chain, delicate products, such as flowers, dairy, fruit, seafood, meat, and vegetables, are being transported. Delays or changes in temperature and humidity can compromise product quality, which often translates into significant losses in revenue.

During the event, I’ll discuss how technology – specifically the Internet of Things (IoT) – can play a pivotal role in optimizing the perishable supply chain. IoT technology has broad applications in business, especially monitoring and logistics. Companies can use IoT technology to create intelligent container fleets and improve operations with information that is gathered and delivered based on specific business needs and compliance requirements.

Here are some of the ways IoT monitoring devices can help businesses create a more efficient supply chain:

  • Monitor containers to ensure perishables, such as seafood and meat, are kept at the proper temperature and humidity.
  • Identify mechanical issues, such as a malfunctioning compressor on an air cooling unit, so repairs can be made quickly.
  • Locate and send empty containers or trailers that are closest to the clients who need them.
  • Identify and bill customers that are keeping containers for longer time periods.
  • Improve the usage of containers and reduce their overall transportation spend.
  • Keep accurate records of cargo shipment departures and arrivals.
  • Know the status of container inventory, the safety of cargo, or excessive dwell time.
  • Receive alerts on containers or trailers that deviate from their expected locations.

The adoption of IoT technology is growing at a rapid pace. In fact, by 2020, only 17 percent of all Internet connections will come from computers; the remaining 83 percent will result from IoT.1 And by 2025, the total global worth of IoT technology could be as much as $6.2 trillion – most of that value coming from devices in healthcare ($2.5 trillion) and manufacturing ($2.3 trillion).2

You can learn more about how AT&T is using IoT solutions to better connect people, processes, and assets in the supply chain, in cities, in vehicles, and more. Also follow what’s happening at Cool Logistics.

1. Strategy Analytics, “Connected World: The Internet of Things and Connected Devices in 2020,” 9 October 2014

2. Machina Research, “Supply Chain: strong revenue growth forecast due to demand for enhanced operational efficiency” (November 2014)

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