‘Empty keg kilometres’ become a thing of the past as Massive IoT helps Konvoy reduce idle keg time by 22%, boost keg use by 20%, and create 20,000 new revenue points with IoT keg tracking at scale.
Keg rental company Konvoy owns 250,000 kegs in Australia and New Zealand which provides empty kegs for more than 500 customers – brewers of all sizes. Managing a fleet of this scale across so many stakeholders is no simple feat. To avoid kegs ending up unused in the back of warehouses and to ensure goods – particularly temperature-sensitive craft beer – are transported efficiently and sustainably, Konvoy needed precise location tracking and data insights to streamline operations.
Konvoy started with a promise to develop an IoT tracking solution for its keg fleet to remove the need for time-consuming barcode or RFID scanning that was prone to user error. The company quickly turned to Massive IoT (M-IoT), fitting low cost and battery powered trackers to its kegs, and leveraging Thinxtra’s low-bandwidth 0G Network, giving it accurate data to optimise transport and provide visibility into where each keg is located, so it can be retrieved.
Thinxtra’s M-IoT capabilities have helped Konvoy reduce ‘empty keg kilometres’. It has allowed Konvoy to move kegs efficiently and in full loads, resulting in lower operating costs, and boosting its sustainability efforts by minimising the number of trucks on the road. With the goal to have all 250,000 kegs tracked by 2024, Konvoy also stands to avoid losing kegs, and therefore mitigating replacement costs.
Beyond barcodes with IoT
Konvoy was created to disrupt the keg industry – it takes the responsibility of keg management away from brewers, so those companies can focus on producing beer and growing their business.
“Brewers don’t want to think about kegs, especially the tracking side,” said Adam Trippe-Smith, Founder of Konvoy. “We started a rental keg business to teach the whole market, from the pubs, to the beverage producers to the warehouse and logistics providers that renting kegs and having someone else look after them made good business sense.”
It’s an ethos that has helped Konvoy amass more than 500 customers. It now services more than 70 per cent of breweries in Australia, with Lion, Asahi, Moon Dog and Hawkers on the list.
“The data we receive through Thinxtra’s 0G Network ensures we can move kegs in full loads. That means brewers can move more products to their customers and fulfill demand faster. Having this level of certainty and oversight over 250,000 kegs is a competitive advantage for us and the companies we support.”
General Manager, Technology Business at Konvoy
Konvoy’s success is underscored by innovative use of technology to underpin its keg rental operations. Being able to track kegs in a simple way, with access to data insights, has always been a priority.
Barcode and RFID scanning solutions were limited in the data it could provide. While they allowed fleet owners to understand when kegs left and reached a venue, they couldn’t offer real-time visibility into the location of kegs in transit. They also lacked more detailed data on the state of the kegs – including temperature and impact – which are crucial quality control factors in the world of premium craft beer.
An early adopter
Commencing operations in 2019, Konvoy engaged Australian Massive Internet of Things (M-IoT) company, Thinxtra, the owner and operator of the nation’s only 0G Network.
Konvoy made the decision to move its keg tracking to Thinxtra, with the 0G Network offering real-time visibility of assets, alongside global coverage when kegs are exported offshore. The network allowed Konvoy to begin attaching small, low-bandwidth devices with long battery life to its kegs so it could see where they are, alongside the conditions in which they are transported, to maintain ideal conditions for the beers.
“Teaming up with Thinxtra has enabled us to make our service the most competitive in the keg rental market,” said Marc Eggins, General Manager, Technology Business at Konvoy. “Leveraging the 0G Network gives us granular visibility into each keg’s real-time location, making us more efficient in the way we operate, identifying cost saving opportunities, and reducing our environmental impact.”
Importantly, Konvoy’s customers and the pubs which receive the kegs are no longer burdened by the need to manually scan each asset as it arrives and departs. The data is immediately available to Konvoy. This removes hours of administrative and logistics work that employees on all sides can reinvest into their main jobs – producing beer and delivering outstanding customer service.
Real-time data does far more than just providing location insights – it also optimises rental operations.
M-IoT: The next evolution of beer-keg tracking
To date, Konvoy has recorded a 20 per cent increase in keg use. This is expected to increase as its full fleet of kegs is fitted with IoT devices in the next 12 months.
“The data we receive through Thinxtra’s 0G Network ensures we can move kegs in full loads,” said Eggins. “That means brewers can move more products to their customers and fulfill demand faster. Having this level of certainty and oversight over 250,000 kegs is a competitive advantage for us and the companies we support.”
Another benefit is a 22 per cent reduction in idle kegs because it can identify exactly where kegs have been stored, accelerating the rate at which they can be retrieved, and avoiding replacement costs for those previously left in warehouses for prolonged periods.
Since partnering with Thinxtra, Konvoy has also experienced a significant unexpected outcome. Prior, it was typically considered that any delays would occur at a destination venue, so logistics were always geared towards getting kegs back. However, as this was streamlined, Konvoy saw opportunities to expedite transport to the destination.
The learnings have allowed Konvoy to help its customers speed up movements, and focus on markets that could be more effective sales targets and therefore improve revenue. Brewers are no longer out-brewing demand.
Konvoy is currently tracking 130,000 kegs, and plans to have all 250,000 kegs fitted with IoT devices and tracked over Thinxtra’s 0G Network in 2024.
“Konvoy has completely transformed the keg rental business through the innovative use of keg tracking technology. Not only has it made life easier for brewers, but it has established efficiencies in how it operates, brought down costs at multiple touch points and boosted volumes of beer that can be sold and transported, all the while reducing its carbon footprint. The combination of IoT devices and Thinxtra’s 0G Network align to Konvoy’s ambitions to be disruptive at an incredible scale as the company continues its expansion efforts.”
Chief Executive Officer at Thinxtra
Konvoy formed in 2019 to provide a simple keg rental solution for the beverage industry. As a supplier to the industry we aim to listen to and work with Konvoy’s customers to find a solution that works for them. Konvoy is committed to supporting the industry and being easy to work with in a simple, dependable and honest way.