To ship perishable products for long distances while ensuring their quality, logistics and transportation companies use refrigerated shipping containers to ensure that cargo does not spoil during its journey.
While these containers deliver the functionality logistics desire, there isnâ€™t any way for these companies to monitor and manage operations during cold-chain transportation. They often lack the much-desired transparency needed to track the products while they are en route, which hinders their ability to take actions in case the refrigeration system in these containers fails. Additionally, these companies also require an end-to-end monitoring system that can help them to track the cargo being shipped, and alert them about obstructions that can affect the delivery.
How Internet of Things Comes into Picture?
By using the technology of Internet of Things (IoT), logistics are now capable to supervise their trucks delivering the package along with parameters that determine the quality of the products being shipped. IoT assists in monitoring cargo through its remote and real-time monitoring features and enable you to handle temperature-dependent products from the comfort of your office. By leveraging the interconnection between fleet and your smartphone, you can detect anomalies and respond to them, enabling you to prevent the degradation of your products.
IoT technology hence optimizes the cold chains of logistics businesses and therefore helps you to detect and respond to risks related to degradation of perishable products while they are conveyed in refrigerated trailers. Here is a list of benefits cargo monitoring offers in cold chain transportation:
1) Immediate Alerts about Anomalies:
Trucks are the lifeline of any transportation business. Not only their condition and performance affect the delivery of products on time, but they are also responsible for powering the refrigeration units installed in the reefers. Moreover, since trucks may conduct multiple deliveries on a single rub, any problem that may occur in the engine or other components of the truck can affect the entire distribution process.
With the remote monitoring capability of the IoT technology, companies can monitor the status of engine, gas pressure in trucksâ€™ tires, and working of reefers to make sure that everything runs smoothly while the goods are delivered. In case, any anomaly does occur while the truck is on-road, an alert pertaining to the issue is sent to a system accessible by the fleet manager. The manager can hence ask the driver to inspect the affected area and repair it.
The alerts can also be sent if the temperature in the container drops and hence pro-active measures can be taken to repair the venting systems, ensuring optimum quality of the products.
2) Reduced Operational Costs:
Running a cold chain logistics can be very expensive. A huge workforce is required to operate the cold chain and heavy investment is supposed to be made in terms of capital for cold storage and refrigerating equipment. Additionally, moving goods from one location to another is also very expensive while ensuring that all regulations and compliances set by the government are addressed.
IoT systems bring transparency in the cold chain logistics that reduce the dependency on the workforce for the supervision of perishable goods being shipped. Moreover, chances of theft, misplacement of goods, improper packaging, storage, and spoilage of environment-sensitive products are reduced that further results in a decrease in overheads and operational costs.
3) Increased Efficiency and Productivity:
The use of technology not only helps in reducing operational costs but also boosts the efficiency and productivity of cold chain logistics. Processes that are generally very time-consuming and require excessive human intervention can be quickly accomplished by using this technology.
For instance, temperature monitoring of the goods that exhausts a lot of productive time of labor can be automatically done via sensors installed around the cargo. This not only will save productive time for monitoring but also save time wasted due to manual entering of data and its analysis. The data gathered through temperature sensors can be easily stored and compiled in cloud storage, from where the data can be called and analyzed to generate useful insights.
This helps logistics to identify the bottlenecks in their operations and erase them through smart actions. Thus, the efficiency of the inefficient processes is increased, resulting in better outcomes for the companies.
4) Increased Customer Satisfaction:
Remote cargo monitoring systems developed by the technology of the Internet of Things allow logistics to not only protect the cargo from environmental conditions but also help them to ensure its safe delivery to the recipient on time. This increases the customer satisfaction rate that further opens up the possibilities for more business.
It is a difficult task to accomplish since multiple participants are involved for packaging, loading, and movement of goods. A minor drawback even at a single place can result in the spoilage of goods that results in a loss. Monitoring of cargo safety and quality hence allow companies to make sure that the customer receives the package while it is fresh and unaffected from any environmental harm.
The cargo monitoring systems powered by the technology of IoT allow cold chain companies to optimize their transportation processes. This system allows logistics to keep an eye on the conditions inside a reefer being pulled by a truck on road in real-time.
By leveraging the capabilities of cargo monitoring, companies can now get alerts about reefer related issues, decrease operational costs, boost efficiency, and deliver their customers unspoiled goods on time.