3 Essential Components of Supply Chain Visibility During Transportation

3 Essential Components of Supply Chain Visibility During Transportation

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Logistics and transportation managers face an incredibly complex challenge securing assets in motion in the supply chain. To successfully manage delays, losses, and other risks, you need visibility.

In general, visibility during transportation refers to the ability to see where your assets are so you can make decisions about what to do next. You also need to understand the status of the shipment itself: has a product or part been compromised by high temperatures or humidity? Has it been subject to physical shocks? Do you need to expedite a replacement order, re-plan a production run, or manage your customers’ expectations? Having sufficient visibility during transportation helps you answer these questions.

How Do You Define Perfect Visibility in the Supply Chain

There are a million factors that can affect the delivery of even a single shipment, but the most essential components are the location, condition, and handling of assets. These details are critical to troubleshooting delays and managing risk, because other contextual details are only useful in relation to the physical location of your shipments. You could be tracking real-time data about every potential storm or traffic jam along the route, but without knowing the physical location of your assets you can’t do anything with this other information.

For example, if there’s been an earthquake along your supply chain, you need to know whether any of your assets were actually passing through that area at the time and how they might be affected. If you can see that a shipment is stranded in a damaged distribution center or being diverted to another facility, you can manage the impact of any delays. If you don’t know where your assets are, you have to locate them before you can do anything to resolve the situation.

3 Things You Need for Complete Supply Chain Visibility

From an asset security perspective, visibility in the supply chain is about knowing when any event occurs that could affect your production, distribution, or other operations.

It’s impossible to have this picture without 3 essential details:

1.      Location – This is the baseline of asset monitoring, but you need granular detail. Tracking a pallet may not be adequate, because losing just one carton from a shipment can be damaging if it contains valuable intellectual property or critical manufacturing inputs. You need visibility at the carton level are so you can tell if shipments are being separated—and so you can track misplaced or stolen goods.

 2.      Condition - Environmental factors such as temperature and humidity can have a major impact on your assets. Say you have a product that needs to be packaged in a heat-sensitive casing for its intended use. The casing itself might be inexpensive, but what if you have a multi-million-dollar assembly line that can’t run without it? If those materials were left outside on the tarmac at a Shanghai airport in the middle of summer—you need to know, so you can allocate those resources to another project, or arrange an expedited replacement order.

3.      Handling – The physical handling of your assets is just as critical as the environmental conditions. A shipment of electronic components or mechanical parts could easily be damaged by mishandling in a distribution center or from shocks during loading or unloading at a dock or airport. If your assets may be compromised, you need to know this as early as possible so you can take action to mitigate risk and potential losses.

Greater Visibility Is Critical to the Next Wave of Supply Chain Optimization

The supply chain itself has become more of a strategic focus for virtually every industry over the last 20-30 years as business has become more global. Today there are countless supply chains interwoven in an elaborate system of worldwide production and distribution. As a result, companies have invested a lot of time into optimizing their supply chains. At this point, the low-hanging fruit has been picked. For many companies, further improvement requires greater levels of visibility.

Intelyt’s global asset monitoring solution provides the granular visibility companies need to understand the status of items in the supply chain, at every single point along the way. We’ll alert you right away if a part was supposed to ship, but didn’t—or if an asset is being corrupted by heat and moisture—or if one of the prototypes for your new, top-of-the-line product has been separated from the others during shipment. This level of granular visibility will be essential to the next wave of supply chain optimization.

How Unconnected Assets Challenge the Hype Around IoT in the Supply Chain

How Unconnected Assets Challenge the Hype Around IoT in the Supply Chain

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Because Intelyt is responsible for monitoring more than $250 million in assets at any given moment, we think about security a lot — how it works, what threats our customers are facing, how we need to adapt to new risks in a changing world.

One of the major changes we’ve all experienced in recent years is that “smart” connected devices are now everywhere. Little more than 10 years ago, there were no iPhones. Now there are hundreds of millions—and billions of Android devices. But that’s just one of the most common examples of an exploding “Internet of Things” that already includes countless connected devices.

IoT-Enabled Asset Tracking Requires Intelligent Use of Battery Power

In business media, there is a huge amount of hype around potential uses for the IoT in the supply chain. In fact, a recent market research report found that production IoT-enabled asset tracking devices will triple by 2022, reaching $70 million in value.

Imagine, connected devices can now tell you everything you need to know about where a shipment is, where it’s been, how it’s been handled and what condition it’s in. While that’s a remarkable capability, there’s only one problem: shipping often takes a long time, and assets that are in transit or deployed in the field typically don’t have a steady connection to a power source. Again, think about our phones: they have a compass, GPS, and a million other capabilities, but to use those features you have to charge the phone almost every day.

The idea of recharging a tracking device every day for each asset in the distribution center of a logistics provider or sitting at a supply depot near an oil field is completely impractical. You need a solution that makes intelligent use of battery power to capture and transmit the right information, at the right time. After all, you only need certain pieces of critical data, such as when an asset has been moved, if it’s been separated from the rest of a shipment, or when it may have been exposed to damaging conditions.

For example, let’s say you have some critical parts being shipped to a U.S. facility from a factory in Asia. You want to know that everything was loaded onto the ship or aircraft correctly, without being exposed to any damaging conditions. But once this has been confirmed, you can be fairly confident that your shipment won’t be stolen while it’s at sea or in the air. You probably won’t need additional updates until the shipment has landed at its destination or the next trans-shipment point.

But at that point, you need certain details about the trip – say, ensuring that sensitive assets weren’t exposed to high temperatures or excessive moisture. The “security” of your assets depends on more than preventing theft. You also need to ensure that everything remains in working condition.

How Intelyt Solves the Problem of Tracking Unconnected Assets

Intelyt’s global asset tracking technology utilizes energy-efficient, battery-powered GPS components and a global ISO standard radio network to reliably track and monitor billions of dollars in assets traveling millions of miles every month. We use more than 500 million data points annually to provide this level of security and visibility.

With our global asset monitoring solutions you can troubleshoot shipping delays or track down missing items by viewing the locations of all your monitored assets on a global map at any time. You can also get real-time updates when shipments are departing, arriving, or passing through designated waypoints in the supply chain. This includes alerts when exceptions occur, such as delays, early arrivals, or partial-shipment separation. Equally importantly, you can receive environmental alerts for factors such as temperature, moisture, humidity, handling, and speed.

Intelyt provides the situational intelligence you need to keep your supply chain working properly, so you can avoid shipping delays, added costs, and lost revenue. And over the longer term, we provide the detailed historical data you need to minimize risk and optimize your supply chain.

Infographic: How Intelyt’s Clients use 50 Million Data Points to Track $3.2 Billion in Global Assets Monthly

At any given moment, Intelyt is tracking more than $250 million in customer assets moving across up to 190 countries. In total we track, monitor, secure, and expedite approximately $3.2 billion in assets traveling almost 4 million miles per month. To support these operations, our global network of GPS, environmental, and other sensors generates more than 50 million data points monthly.

The ability to independently verify, monitor, and optimize your supply chain in real time is invaluable in today’s complex and constantly evolving global economy. With Intelyt’s global asset tracking technology, you can always quickly pinpoint the physical location of your critical high-value assets—without having to go through your suppliers or carriers for the information.

Intelyt’s global asset tracking solutions are designed to meet the needs of a wide range of customers, including companies with complex supply chains such as data centers, medical devices, and biotechnology firms. With energy efficient, battery powered GPS components and a global ISO standard radio network, you can reliably track and monitor cartons, pallets, containers, or other assets in your supply chain.

Equally importantly, Intelyt solutions are easy to deploy and simple to operate, regardless of the size of your operations. Our turnkey solution is fully hosted and subscription-based so you can rapidly scale up or down as your needs change over time.

View our global asset tracking infographic to learn more about how Intelyt provides unprecedented visibility and security for the location and condition of your assets all over the world, including:

Global Mapping and Notifications: With Intelyt, you can view the locations of all your shipments or assets on a global map at any time. You can also get real-time updates for your shipments along the way. For example, you can receive confirmation when your shipment has departed, arrived, or has passed through a designated waypoint en-route to its destination.

Critical Alerts: Intelyt’s sensors send alerts when exceptions occur within the supply chain, such as delayed departure, early arrival, or partial-shipment separation. You can also receive environmental alerts for factors such as temperature, moisture, humidity, handling, and speed.

Data-Driven Optimization: With more than 50 million data points collected monthly, Intelyt provides customers with the historical shipment, location and environmental data to evaluate carriers and freight-forwarders, address potential areas risks, and optimize their supply chains.

Other features Intelyt offers include:

  • Expedited Cross-Border and Maritime Customs Clearance

  • Monitored Relay Points and Arrival Alerts for Inbound Deliveries

  • Monitoring & Tracking of Hot Cargo Shipments

  • Individual Parcel & Pallet Separation Alerts

  • Tracking of Diversions

  • Certainty of Source

View or download our infographic to see more.

Using the IoT to Find and Fix Breaks in Your Supply Chain

Frequently lost shipments, slow-downs in deliveries, or other delays in a supply chain can often indicate that there is a chronic problem that needs to be addressed. Intelyt’s mission is to provide hyper-granular data and actionable insight into what the problems are, where they arise, and why they happen. This arms logistics and transportation managers with the information they need to quickly identify and fix their issues, and proactively streamline their supply chain to avoid chronic supply chain problems.

Problems arise when the unexpected happens

Complications with shipments are inevitable, so a seasoned logistics professional knows to expect the unexpected. The latest developments in Internet of Things (IoT) infrastructure helps them to quickly identify, understand, fix, and prevent unexpected shipment problems. Supply chain disruptions, which an Accenture study has shown can reduce shareholder value by 7 percent, are preventable with the proper technology in place.

In most supply chains, there’s a production or purchase order. The expectation is that a product is going to be shipped within a specific window of time, and arrive within another specific window. Whenever those expectations aren’t met, there’s a problem, and it’s the responsibility of the logistics or transportation manager to fix it. The sooner they can get information, the better they’re able to deal with the problem. The more detailed the alert, the better the logistics manager can trace the problem to a specific point in the supply chain.

Without Intelyt’s visibility and data, problems can be daunting

Without Intelyt’s Internet of Things technology looking out for the shipment, and providing insight on how to improve shipments, logistics managers are in the dark. There is no amount of painstaking preparation that can prevent unexpected problems and breaks in the supply chain. When a shipment doesn’t show up when it is scheduled to, managers have to scramble to pinpoint exactly what went wrong, in what stage of the process.

Before a logistics manager can prescribe changes and solutions for a broken supply chain, the most basic intel into a shipment problem can be hazy without Intelyt’s insight and data. Simple diagnostic questions like the ones below should be the first to get to the bottom of, but they can be difficult to answer without robust supply chain visibility.

  • Where is the product?

  • Was the product lost?

  • Was the product stolen?

  • Was there counterfeit insertion?

  • Was the product damaged?

  • Was there a problem with transportation that caused a delay?

  • Was there a mix up in scheduling or routing?

Once a logistics manager is able to determine what type of problem even occurred, the next stage of investigation dives deeper:

  • At what leg of the journey did the problem occur?

  • Who was responsible? Who was at fault?

  • Why did it happen?

  • Were expectations and windows unrealistic, miscommunicated?

And eventually comes the question of how to fix a supply chain break: “How can I get the shipment back on track, and suffer the least amount of damage from this incident?” Rectifying problems from a shipment is a supply chain manager’s responsibility. However, without the proper insight, finding the parties responsible for supply chain breaks and knowing how to address each problem can be a shot in the dark.

How Intelyt solves breaks in supply chains

Intelyt can answer the above questions for you, so that you can focus on fixing the break in your supply chain. Intelyt’s technology can provide visibility into your supply’s conditions, routing, and more, including:

  • Current Location

  • Excessive Dwelling

  • Shock to the product

  • Late Departure

  • Alternate routes

  • Temperature

  • Theft

  • Counterfeit insertion

The technology does the investigation for you, so you can take action, knowing exactly what is causing problems, or where the break is.

In addition to fixing a break in a supply chain, there’s one more important question to answer: “How can we make sure that this problem never happens again?” This is where Intelyt’s vast amounts of actionable data comes in. Intelyt is constantly collecting information in real time about every angle of a shipment, from start to finish. This arms logistics managers with the with forensic data to use to make sure a problem doesn’t happen again. Intelyt delivers strategic solutions, not just tactical solutions. Getting a shipment process back on track, and also proactively knowing if something will cause problems, helps companies fix chronic supply chain breaks.

As Intelyt’s data accumulates, logistics managers will have a bird’s eye view of their supply chain health as a whole. This will guide them to make long term strategic decisions about how to optimize and streamline their supply chain to make it run more smoothly and consistently over time.

Peace of mind for logistics managers is a central goal. Our technology helps managers rest assured that their shipment will arrive on time and meet all expected specifications. It also helps businesses streamline each successive shipment, and work toward a bulletproof supply chain, running at optimum efficiency.

 

Keeping Your Supply Chain Clean: How Intelyt Uses IoT to Solve Counterfeit Insertion

Counterfeit insertion is a major problem that affects tens of thousands of brands’ quality, safety, sales, and reputation. Across industries, counterfeit products are being inserted into the supply chains of unsuspecting companies, and the damage is costing billions of dollars per year. Low-quality, counterfeit copies of popular items are often illegally shipped into the United States and Europe, and can affect businesses in any industry - from apparel, to technology, to consumer goods, and perhaps most dangerously, the pharmaceutical industry.

 

In many cases, when the counterfeit products make it to their destination, they go unnoticed by the receiving company. This becomes a major problem when the supplies, which are often faulty or not to proper specifications, are used in production, and sold to customers.

How Much Damage Can Counterfeit Insertion Do?

Many companies believe they’re buying from a supplier that they trust, but might not find out that their shipment came from a counterfeit source until their consumers identify it for them - often just by opening up the box and realizing that their product is low quality or not what they expected.

These counterfeit insertions cost industries billions of dollars a year. According to a 2013 Industry Week report, the automotive industry lost about $3 billion in sales due to counterfeit items in their supply chains, and the semiconductor industry lost a massive $75 billion.

And the loss in revenue from re-ordering, recalls, and manufacturing delay is not the only problem caused by these low-quality knock-offs in the supply chain: Companies that unknowingly sell faulty products with counterfeit parts can severely damage their brand image. Dissatisfied customers will start to respond on social media that they paid a premium for a product that was not nearly as good as they were lead to believe it would be. This can take a serious toll on a brand’s reputation for making quality products. It will negatively impact customers’ future purchasing patterns, and ultimately affect the overall brand value - and the company’s share value.

Besides damage to the company and its brand, counterfeits also cause some extreme safety problems for customers, which are often most apparent in the automobile and pharmaceutical industries. If a pharmacy, for example, sells a product that they think is going to solve a health issues, but a counterfeit component has been introduced somewhere in the supply chain, a customer might unknowingly be taking an ineffective - or even harmful - medication.

How Intelyt’s Technology Prevents and Solves Counterfeit Insertion

For decades, counterfeit insertion has been a difficult problem to solve. Companies struggle to determine which components are counterfeit, to pinpoint the stage they entered the supply chain, or to identify the source of the counterfeit supplies. They often only learned of counterfeit supplies when it was too late to remedy the error.

Supply chain visibility should mean much more than just tracking the movement, progress, and general logistics of a shipment. Intelyt’s modern, IoT visibility solutions extend farther than condition visibility, which provides insight into forces the shipment experienced. Intelyt’s shipping insight goes deeper and is directly actionable when it comes to determining the legitimacy of a shipped product.

We are able to achieve this direct prevention of counterfeit insertion through our integration with the United States Customs and Border Protection agency. We can tag products that come from overseas manufacturers and pass through Customs. This allows us to monitor each shipment’s delivery and ensure that the package’s source is correct and that the box passing through Customs contains that tag certifying that it is the correct product. This allows shipping and logistics managers to confirm that the supplies originated from where they expected them to come from, and that they contain exactly what was specified in the order.

If, for any reason, a shipment arrives and doesn’t have the specific tag inserted by Intelyt, Customs can be alerted, and quickly determine if it is counterfeit or legitimate.

Whether you are aiming to protect yourself against counterfeit deliveries of components for products you are manufacturing, or to ensure that the products you are shipping to retailers remain original, genuine products, Intelyt can help. Leverage our IoT solution to Prevent counterfeit insertion from infiltrating your supply chain is crucial for sales, reputation, image, customer safety, and your bottom line.

How IoT Provides End-to-End Supply Chain Visibility Without a Premium Price Tag

Most logistics managers rely on third-party logistics (3PL) providers to move their shipments. Those 3PLs will then use a variety of carriers, shippers, and providers to do the job and deliver the product to its destination.

Whether you’re outsourcing to third parties for fulfillment and distribution services, or for your own supply chain, knowing exactly how your product is being shipped is crucial. Clear visibility and detailed insight help logistics managers save money, avoid shipment problems, and get their items delivered as efficiently and quickly as possible.

 

Use Any Carrier and Stay in Control

If you’re like most businesses, you know that using a range of various 3PLs to move your products and manage your supply chains is more cost-effective than a full service like FedEx or UPS. Intelyt allows you to use any carrier you choose, while providing detailed insight and visibility into your shipment process using IoT technology.  

‘Premium’ Asset-Based 3PLs come at ‘Premium’ Prices

An asset-based logistics supplier like FedEx or UPS owns the entire shipping process. End-to-end control allows shipment progress and details to be fairly visible to their clients and they are able to provide this service because they control every stage of the process.  They own the trucks, the planes, and the logistics data and control the people involved: the drivers, pilots, and other delivery workers. 

This kind of tight control might be good for squeezing out potential shipping problems and eliminating some routing inefficiencies, but it’s a premium service that comes at a high price. Not only is it expensive, but the reality is that today, most companies’ global supply chains have more than one provider. That’s where Intelyt comes in - we offer the ability to have the same closed-loop service that FedEx or UPS can provide, but also complement your existing suite of 3PLs. That makes our solution the right fit, no matter how small the business or the shipment.

Integrating End-to-End Full Service With Existing 3PLs

Intelyt offers logistics managers an option that has the same features as high-priced premium services like FedEx, with the price of smaller logistics services which normally don’t provide much visibility or insight. Intelyt allows companies to keep existing 3PLs, while optimizing their supply chains. With Intelyt, companies aren’t tethered to any one provider - we offer visibility independant of the vendor used to transport the product.

Our IoT based technology is designed from the ground up to be rapidly deployed and integrated with your shipment, regardless of what 3PL you've chosen. In fact, Intelyt’s software and hardware work completely independently of the third parties or transportation providers, allowing logistics managers to have access to real-time developments in shipments.

The More Dynamic Your Visibility, the Better Your Bottom Line

More information saves you money. The more you know about problems with a shipment, for example, the better you’ll be able to adjust for future shipments. Knowing the exact path a shipment takes, how it is transported, and when it reaches certain points not only helps businesses stay on-schedule with their work, but also delivers peace of mind.

You May Think You Have More Visibility Than You Do

Many companies are already using services that optimize their supply chains, and many have even observed lower operating costs and more efficient deliveries. However, these businesses might not recognize just how deep their supply chain optimization can, and should, go.

Services like FedEx provide logistics managers with somewhat basic visibility - mostly the physical locations of a shipment and when it arrives at each point in the route. Intelyt’s solution delivers more than just visibility of the various locations along the shipping journey, because for many deliveries, the status and condition of the shipment is just as important as the “when and where.” Intelyt’s systems provide real-time analysis of temperature deviations, notification of sudden shocks that might damage the product, or even alert of a shift that has tilted a product in a way that could cause damage.

Improved Insight and Better Visibility Save Money

Because a typical order is moved and managed by third parties, many businesses struggle with murky intel on and visibility into their shipping process. The Intelyt system allows your organization to maintain use of trusted, affordable 3PLs, while adding the visibility that premium, all-in-one services like FedEx provide.

The enhanced visibility and nuanced insight that Intelyt delivers to logistics managers leads to long-term cost savings. By providing the intelligence that a shipping route has deviated from the expected route, or that a shipment has experienced unanticipated dwells, Intelyt provides actionable data prevent similar issues in the future.

Having transparent, real-time, granular visibility of shipments is crucial no matter the size. Intelyt is not just a leader in providing security and visibility for high-value shipments in global supply chains. We also recognize that the problematic delivery of a small, inexpensive item can affect your entire process, and your bottom line. A tiny piece of plastic used in the dashboard of a motorboat might only cost nine dollars, but when it does not arrive on time or intact, the same piece of plastic can set back assembly, launch, and product shipment.  This is why Intelyt tracks everything and monitors critical low-value deliveries with the same care it gives to high-value orders.  

Managing your global supply does not have to be a mean choosing between the control of all-in-one services and thevalue of trusted 3PLs that are right for the job. By leveraging IoT technology, Intelyt helps businesses, and their logistics managers, bridge the gap. Intelyt’s custom software and hardware provide the premium visibility FedEx might offer, with greater more details and insight. That, combined with easy integration with 3PLs, makes Intelyt the smart choice for any business with a global shipping footprint.

How Low-Cost, Critical Inventory Impacts Revenue Recognition

 

There's a very basic difference between cost and value. The cost of a particular part, or component, for example, could be very small. However, without that part taking its place in a high value product, that product would be worthless. In contrast to its cost, its value is extremely high. In fact, a $10 dollar part could easily be mission-critical.

Murray Dunn, CEO of Intelyt

Today's business environment demands that businesses seek out efficiency and opportunities to optimize every aspect of operations. Part of that optimization can take place at the supply chain level. Supply chains across the world are filled with high value components and parts that may cost very little individually, but which are critical to business success. Visibility into supply chain operations is critical in order to maintain, or even increase, product margins, and to ensure that contracts are met, and product reaches market at the right time.

Downstream Butterfly Effect

Let's take, for example, a company that supplies coffee makers to the airline industry. That coffee maker is not especially complicated. However, there are several specialized components that are critical to the overall specification of that warmer. Its temperature sensor is simple, but must sense temperature—its critical task—within very strict tolerances:

·       It must not be sensitive to extremes in ambient temperature

·       It must not be susceptible to air pressure variances

·       It must not be sensitive to shock and vibration

These environmental factors can compromise temperature sensors, and they are critical for aerospace applications. If the sensor unit doesn’t arrive at the production line on time, or is damaged in transit, a company supplying the coffee maker cannot ship product to its clients. Orders can't be filled and invoices can't be issued.  Revenue cannot be recognized.

Unfortunately, missing shipments are often not noticed until they're needed. Damage to sensitive parts isn't noticed until the components are tested. Under these conditions, recovery is a very expensive task, and can erase the entire financial margin from a product. Parts must be reordered and shipping must be expedited—both costly and time consuming. In the meantime, production lines move on to other things, product is late, invoices are held. Quarterly or yearly financial goals are missed, and analysts could downgrade the future expectations for performance.

This is a classic "butterfly effect", where a small factor, such as insufficient visibility into the location or condition of a box of $10 dollar parts, could erase millions of dollars from a company's market capitalization, jeopardizing its very existence. All because a shipment got lost, or dropped, or worse, and no one knew about it until it was too late.

Protecting Critical Shipments, No Matter the Cost

The Intelyt Solution protects shipments of value, no matter the cost. When parts that come from anywhere else are part of a high value, mission critical product, Intelyt's solution offers transparency and control over the entire shipping process. A shipment is commissioned using our secure application, and the tags are dropped into every carton in the shipment.

Our product is thoughtfully engineered by engineers with extensive supply chain experience to provide insight into conditions beyond location—things handling and environmental factors. If any condition exceeds the custom tolerances you set, an immediate alert is sent that is independent of your suppliers and carriers, allowing you to act immediately. Greater visibility into shipment conditions, along with location, allows companies to be proactive in supply chain management.

We give our clients peace of mind in knowing that their critical assets are where they're supposed to be, under the right conditions, no matter their cost. We know that the value of shipments has nothing to do with the cost of the materials inside—it's only realized when they reach their destination safely and on time.

The value for clients is much more than a simple battery-operated device used to track a $10 dollar sensor—it's in protecting your supply chain, getting that $10 dollar sensor to the manufacturing line at the right time, and in the right condition, allowing the coffee maker to be built and shipped on time.

No matter the industry, we know that supply chain reliability is critical to the efficient operation of any company. Intelyt's iTags solution will bring unprecedented visibility and critical accuracy to your supply chain operations.