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Optimizing food supply chains and preventing recalls - IoT beyond the Buzz
Published on 11/14/2016 | Operations
The Internet of Things (IoT) along with Big Data is around us everywhere. It is the buzzword that is deemed to be the next big thing and will affect the way we communicate, travel, work, equip our homes and take care of our health. While we are well aware of the cool new IoT technologies affecting our daily life such as wearable devices, smart watches, activity trackers and smart home appliances; there are less visible, less talked about IoT related tech solutions for businesses that could prove to have some of the most significant impact.
IoT can not only benefit individual customers but it has the potential to transform industries as it affects the ways we are doing business. The real value of IoT for businesses lies in data that it generates that can be analyzed in real-time via cloud based applications. Thanks to the smart data and insights provided by IoT sensing devices, key decision makers across industries get access to useful business knowledge that enables them to transform how organizations operate by optimizing business processes leading to cost savings, operational efficiencies and reduced corporate risk. IoT should not be degraded to only a buzzword, it is not a futuristic vision, it is a technology that has already been implemented by many companies and it is here to stay. IoT is a trend that is affecting all industries to varying degrees.
¨The real value of IoT for businesses is data that can be analyzed in real-time via cloud based applications. ¨
IoT can revolutionize food supply chains via providing visibility
Today when food supply chains are becoming progressively more globalized, cover greater distances and involve more suppliers, exposure of food products to various risk factors grows exponentially. As consumers in developed economies are getting more health conscious being worried about the content of their food, its origin, freshness and safety, food safety and traceability have become a major concern of food producers. Taking to consideration that around a third of globally produced food is wasted (either spoiled in transit or thrown out by consumers in wealthier economies) and that food waste makes up at least 1.3 billion tonnes of food lost annually with worth nearly $1 trillion at retail prices, we can see that food supply chains are ripe for innovative solutions. (National Geographic).
¨Wasted food makes up at least 1.3 billion tonnes of food lost annually with worth nearly $1 trillion at retail prices, we can see that food supply chains are ripe for innovative solutions.¨
Reveal – Control - Empower: Innovations in technology, make it easier than ever to reveal inefficiencies in the supply chain, enable managers to get back in control and empower them to identify areas for improvement
Even though various technological developments would enable food manufacturers to revolutionize their supply chain operations, many still stick with traditional ways of doing business. Many food manufacturers still do not take proper quality measures until it is too late. Today when food safety risks could be reduced via end-to-end supply chain visibility, product quality checks must go beyond simply obtaining a certificate of quality analysis at the point of loading. Today when food spoilage and contamination are some of the biggest concerns in food supply chains, visibility should not end with suppliers of raw materials or intermediate goods. Manufacturers of food products must be able to monitor what’s happening to their shipment while in transit to see whether the goods were transported and stored under proper temperature conditions to be able to verify the quality of incoming components.
IoT based supply chain visibility solutions, such as Arviem’s real-time cargo monitoring service, provide smart insights to supply chains holding the key to ensuring product quality from farm to fork. With Arviem’s intelligent sensing technology and its data analytics software food manufacturers know the location of their products in real-time and are able monitor the condition of these products. Thanks to network-connected smart sensors, food manufacturers can monitor the environment of goods in-transit; receiving objective information on indicators such as the temperature or humidity inside a shipping container or truck at any given moment. Senior decision makers can then analyze enterprise-wide historic and real-time data to identify strategic areas for improvement within the supply chain.
Additionally, IoT based real-time cargo monitoring solutions provide insights into the cold chain, the network that stores and transports perishable goods such as meat, fish, diary and fresh produce. The data can help to avoid spoilage by offering actionable insights for manufacturers in forms of safety alerts whenever the condition of goods deviates from the identified parameters.
Food manufacturers benefit from preventive approach to safety matters rather than a reactive method
Improved supply chain visibility in form of smart insights provided via real-time cargo monitoring enables manufacturers to optimize their supply chain processes and carry out smaller more targeted recalls. This is leading to reduced food waste and prolonged shelf life of products as well as decreased amounts of write offs due to expired products. Moreover, food manufacturers can also benefit from reduced inventory costs and better working capital management as thanks to monitoring the cargo and its condition, manufacturers can cut their inventory levels without risk. Additionally, real-time cargo monitoring can help food companies to maintain compliance with federal regulations and industry standards and simplifies the audit process.
To demonstrate, number of manufacturers today rely on quality checks of products based on data provided by suppliers. When applying this method, the product undergoes quality checks before leaving the warehouse at the origin however there is no way to tell what happens to the product in-transit. This approach is not the most efficient for goods that are sensitive to various environmental factors. When shipping coffee beans for example, temperature and humidity levels are crucial in order to sustain the quality the product. If the manufacturer could continue to monitor the temperature and humidity level of coffee beans after it leaves its facility, it could easily pull damaged batches before they go on sale at the grocery store or before they are processed and become part of other products.
¨Monitoring the goods during transportation enables food manufacturers to verify the quality of ingredients before they are incorporated to a product to forego emerging issues¨
Monitoring the goods during transportation enables food manufacturers to verify the quality of ingredients before they are incorporated to a product to forego emerging issues. Moreover, during the times of recalls, traceability of products accelerates the investigation process enabling professionals to identify the reasons for spoilage or contamination. This level of traceability closes gaps in the supply chain and offers a holistic view of all processes.
Do you know where is your cargo and what is happening to it at this very moment? If not, get in touch with us to arrange an unbinding, free consultation to explore the possibilities of your business to increase supply chain visibility.
This article was originally posted on LinkedIn.