During our recent webinar about the Connected Supply Chain hosted by MHD, we asked our audience what the biggest hurdles are to implementing IoT solutions. Thirty-two per cent said the business case doesn’t stack up and 30 per cent said it is difficult to get the right technology fit. The truth is, both are interrelated.
In this MHD IoT Trends article, we share insights about how astute innovators in industries provide now end-to-end IoT-solutions in the Supply Chain Industry that truly disrupt the status-quo. It might be surprising that we look at pest control issues in critical logistics infrastructure and workplaces, however, it makes the point how ubiquitous the IoT is becoming.
It’s a very traditional industry that hasn’t really had a desire to innovate or look at ways of doing things differently,
General Manager, Adam’s Pest Control
With a background in finance and funds management, when Peter joined Adam’s Pest Control 16 years ago, he knew he wanted to look at a new way to manage rodent issues.
“I am more familiar with data and spreadsheets, and I really wanted to explore ways we could solve the issue of pests in a more data-driven way,” he says.
Peter started on a journey of exploring different kinds of technology and networks to track rodent movements, in order to gain a better understanding of what the real issue was.
In the pest control industry, it’s common practice to lay bait and check activity again a month later. But in the world of logistics and FMCG, waiting a month can be detrimental to an organisation’s reputation and also creates an ongoing issue within the warehouse.
This was the case for one of Adam’s Pest Control clients, Woolworths. “If you’re a large retailer like Woolworths, you simply can’t risk to leave the bait and revisit it a month later,” Peter says.
Data Drives Results
Peter commenced a journey of exploring ways to track pest activity.
“We started working with connected sensors about 10 years ago. Firstly, starting with Wi-Fi, but we soon realised it was too challenging as the signal isn’t strong enough for the range we needed,” Peter explains.
From here, Peter and his team started to explore 3G and 4G, but to no avail. “Don’t waste your time with 3G connectivity,” Peter says. “The high power consumption is a major issue; the battery in the sensors just won’t last long enough.”
This is when Peter started to research Internet of Things (IoT) solutions.
“In 2017, we started to explore the IoT-enabled digital monitoring solution from Cre8tec. We worked on proof of concepts throughout 2017. We had about four test sites in Melbourne CBD and proved it worked,” he says.
Adam’s Pest Control runs the remote digital pest monitoring solution on Thinxtra’s national 0G Network. After exploring this option with a number of large Australian businesses, including a 24/7 entertainment centre, an education provider and Woolworths’ network of distribution centres and stores in Melbourne and Sydney, the solution has provided remarkable results.
“Many of our clients have gone from major pest issues to basically none at all, and this is driven by the data,” Peter says.
The connected IoT sensors provide Adam’s pest control team with up-to date information that communicates clearly and accurately where the real issue is.
“If we know exactly where the activity is, then we can proof the facility by closing doors, dealing with hygiene issues and securing any ways that rodents can get in,” Peter says.
This ws what happened with Woolworths distribution centres. In less than a month they went from having an issue with rodents to none at all through simply tracking the entry points.
With Peter’s history in finance and funds management, he always worked with data analysts and therefore hired one to join the team at Adam’s Pest Control. “This is largely unheard of in this industry, but I knew that if we wanted to solve this issue, we needed someone to analyse the data,” Peter explains.
By having a data analyst in the team, Adam’s Pest Control can look at what is happening at a site every morning and communicate what needs to be done to deal with the issue. It’s a much quicker way of solving the problem, Peter says.
Furthermore, the challenge of network reach and coverage is with Thinxtra’s 0G Network no longer an issue.
“When it comes to indoor tunnels, cellars and concrete walls that we need to have a signal reach through, we can use micro stations that can easily increase the coverage wherever we need it,” Peter explains.
For many organisations a pest issue is more than the damage it makes to their operation, it’s also reputation. For Woolworths, operating in the fresh food industry, a pest issue is something that needs to be addressed as early as possible, which is why this innovative IoT way of tracking and solving the issue was a huge benefit.
“Instead of having a guess at where the movement is, within a month we had solved the issue by analysing the sensor data and activity heat map and made the changes needed to stop the entry points,” Peter says.
An added benefit to solving pest control issues with data analytics, is that there is a dramatic reduction in the toxic materials needed, which for FMCG providers such as Woolworths is a particularly positive outcome.
Adam’s Pest Control’s growing clientele are thrilled with the results and reap the benefits.
The partnership with Thinxtra unlocks the value of IoT for their customers in the easiest and most cost effective way.
At Thinxtra, we believe that every business problem calls for a fit-for purpose specific solution to deliver real benefits. Peter Taylor is a true visionary and IoT innovator who took a traditional industry to a new playing field. It is fantastic to see how more and more partners in our ecosystem disrupt their markets and deliver game changing solutions to their customers by embracing the IoT, which is clearly not just a better mousetrap.
About Adams Pest Control, a Division of Orkin Australia
Since 1944 Adams Pest Control has been Australia’s largest independent pest control provider. In July 2020, Orkin Australia, a subsidiary of Atlanta, Ga.-based Rollins Inc, acquired Adams Pest Control. With a company culture that values innovation, Adams was one of the first pest controllers in Australia to adopt electronic monitoring, using world-leading technology, to track, monitor and control rodent activity. Adams Pest Control treats rodents, insects, birds, possums, spiders, bees, silverfish and termites.
Visit the Adams Pest Control website for more information about its full range of services.