by Lewis Marston
360-Degree Visibility Can be a Reality for Connected Businesses
In a previous blog post, we looked at what connecting your mobile assets and making data smart could do for your business.
This highlighted that today’s digital-ready businesses need to look far wider than just data; it’s about collating and analysing multiple datasets in real-time to provide meaningful insight that will underpin intelligent business operations.
Digital business platforms such as SAP S/4 HANA and SAP Leonardo are making 360-degree visibility a reality. This state-of-the-art technology opens up a world of new possibilities because it enables mobile assets to be truly connected and data to be gathered in real-time that is then collated and analysed in context.
Real-time connected supply chains can streamline effectiveness. For example, knowing where mobile assets are within your transport network and combining that with traffic conditions as they unfold allows the estimated arrival time of a delivery vehicle at the depot to be predicted to a high degree of accuracy. If it becomes apparent during the journey that this is likely to cause problems in relation to dock or labour availability, then journeys and drop sequences can be proactively rescheduled as appropriate. This reduces bottlenecks at the depot and ensures maximum efficiency of driver and vehicle time.
The food industry, which transports goods all over the world, provides a useful illustration of the business benefits offered by connected mobile assets. The often-perishable nature of the products means there are strict regulations about the temperature at which it must be kept, including during transit.
Until very recently, the only way to verify the temperature was to wait for the delivery vehicle to return to base, where the thermograph could be printed and investigated.
Today we are looking at a scenario where sensors in the delivery vehicle trailer can monitor the temperature of product in transit with a real-time feed of the readings going directly to the central control centre. Any changes that risk damage to the food products can be flagged to the driver and rectified.
This new way of working allows the supplier to provide the retailer with the necessary audit trails and visibility live. Any impact on food safety can quickly be isolated with onward processes such as recalls swiftly enacted minimising risk.
End-to-end visibility of this nature hardwires integrity into the supply chain. Looking at another example, readings from air quality sensors in vehicles transporting dangerous goods can prove that there has been no leakage of gas. Similarly, track and trace integrity enables analysis of the exact journey and touch points of a package to prove that it was sealed and not tampered with, while a sensor attached to a product can show whether it was dropped (and, if so, and where) and whether it suffered any unnecessary vibrations or indeed whether a box was opened either in an authorised or unauthorised location. As with the refrigerated vehicles, this can all be tracked by the back office.
This level of insight and control is unprecedented. But it is starting to be a reality for all organisations that are committed to adopting a culture of digital disruption. Think what it could do for your business…
• Digital business platforms such as SAP S/4 HANA and SAP Leonardo are making 360-degree visibility a reality
• Real-time data across all your connected mobile assets is a powerful business tool that enables end-to-end visibility of the supply chain
• Connected businesses are the key to being competitive in a commoditised world