ASCI Webinar Replay: How loT Mitigates Risk through Data Driven Transparency

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Improved resilience and the ability to identify and respond in a timely and effective manner to unplanned disruptions has become a key capability in Supply Chain Management.

The panellists share their insights into how the IoT not only delivers significant operational efficiency gains to a connected supply chain, it also enables risk management pracises to evolve from a reactive to a data driven pro-active approach.

IoT And Risk Mitigation: How IoT mitigates risk through data-driven transparency.

  • How visibility of connected supply chain assets, (eg. containers, roll cages, drums IBCs etc) empower Supply Chain professionals with more control through greater visibility of their assets
  • What IoT asset information can be obtained to increase operational responsiveness
  • How data insights and more certainty build more trusted relationships across all network partners
  • What the key success factors for IoT projects to deliver predictable business outcomes
  • Insights from a wealth of experience to manage your IoT project across many stakeholders and external partners.
  • Beyond essential location information, real-time knowledge about the condition of your shipments at for better decision making

In this interactive Q&A, each panellist brings unique perspectives on the role, impact and benefits IoT solutions have on operational efficiency and risk management. During the discussion you’ll hear about real-world success stories, the challenges, learnings and business outcomes they delivered.

Watch the ASCI webinar replay below for more insights on how the IIoT optimises supply chains, or contact us for more information.

Learn more about Thinxtra’s Supply Chain and Logistics Solutions. Have a look on the industry website pages.

0G United Nations: A Powerful Alliance Driving Adoption of IoT

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img-blog-TLA-Kent Rawling

Kent Rawlings

President and CEO of Sigfox Canada
Sigfox 0G Network Operator

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), in a 2020 report, The Internet of Things: Applications for Business: Exploring the Transformative Potential of IoT, proclaimed the Internet of Things (IoT) to be “at the centre of the digitalisation of the world economy” along with artificial intelligence and big data.

Citing a GSMA report, the EIU said: “IoT will generate $US1.1trn in additional revenue for companies across the world by 2025, representing almost one percent of projected global GDP.”

According to a McKinsey report from July 2019, Growing opportunities in the Internet of Things, “Implementing IoT solutions often generates efficiency gains of 20–30 percent by improving performance in areas such as delivery time and pricing for tailored opportunities.”

Adopt IoT or be left behind

After reviewing potential IoT applications across multiple industries the EIU said business leaders “need to consider if they should be using this technology,” because: “Those who do not may miss out on tangible benefits, or be left behind by competitors who have realised IoT-enabled gains in productivity or consumer experience.”

The specifics of IoT implementations will vary enormously across different industries, but to realise the benefits of IoT organisations must overcome its challenges. These include identifying IoT use cases, sourcing the sensors and other IoT devices needed, finding the most appropriate network to connect them and then building a solution to manage and monitor them and extract maximum value from the data they generate.

One thing almost all IoT implementations have in common is a wireless communications network to monitor and control IoT sensors and other devices.

Networks, the heart of IoT

Many organizations gain significant benefits from IoT by analysing and acting on data from their operations that was previously uneconomic, or impossible, to gather. To do this they need IoT devices that are low cost, robust and battery-powered and a wireless communications network that is low cost and highly reliable.

Cellular networks, with variants such as NB-IoT, LTE-M and 5G, are already ubiquitous and have variants to support IoT. They generally support high bandwidth applications at incremental cost for the volume of data. Other technologies have been developed specifically to support IoT applications where cellular may not be the best solution.

The main alternatives being the Sigfox 0G Network and LoRaWAN. Any organization can build and operate a LoRaWAN network for its own use, use it to provide IoT communications as a service, or to offer a complete IoT solution. As a result there are multiple LoRaWAN networks in every country, and network operators compete to provide the communications component of IoT implementations. Ultimately LoRaWAN is a solution for limited geographic areas, like individual manufacturing plants, whereas the 0G Network can cover large geographic areas in addition to limited geographic areas.

0G Network: supporting IoT globally

Sigfox is the world’s leading IoT service provider. It pioneered and patented the 0G Network technology dedicated to IoT, with the vision to power a global network. The 0G Network provides ultra-low power consumption, long-range and low-cost connectivity, unlocking the value of IoT use cases that demand long battery life, national public coverage with global scale and predictable cost.

Exclusive Sigfox 0G Network Operators in 72 countries have seen the need, and the opportunity, to build, operate and commercialize wireless networks for IoT. They have chosen Sigfox 0G as their preferred technology. Between them, Sigfox and the 0G Network Operators have invested more than $US1bn, and their networks cover an area home to more than one billion people, and counting.

0G Networks are able to provide reliable communications to power hundreds of millions of IoT devices designed to send small amounts of data. A stringent focus on developing low-cost, high-quality solutions ensures 0G Networks will be the most competitive solution for any low bandwidth application.

Sigfox’s policy is to licence only one exclusive operator for any country. Licenced operators commit to maintaining global standards and service level agreements. This model for 0G Network operation brings two important benefits for customers: global connectivity and global co-operation.

0G Network means global roaming and global collaboration

All 0G Networks are interconnected enabling an IoT application to operate seamlessly across any of the 72 countries with 0G Networks. And because 0G Network Operators do not compete with each other, they are able to share knowledge and details of practical applications to help customers overcome the barriers to IoT adoption, and to help IoT solutions developed in one geography gain traction in others.

With hundreds of IoT deployments supported on 0G Networks, whatever use case a customer can envision, there is a good chance somebody, somewhere on the 0G Network has already developed and deployed something similar.

0G United Nations accelerates global IoT adoption at lower cost

To leverage their individual experiences for the benefit of customers, 0G Network Operators have come together to form 0G United Nations (0G UN). This association enables customers and potential customers of any 0G UN member to tap into the combined knowledge and experience of all members when developing solutions, and enables solution developers to identify and take advantage of opportunities globally.

0G United Nations is the only not-for-profit IoT association supporting local, national and global IoT applications in a truly collaborative way, because individual members have exclusive rights within their country. This unique structure enables members to freely share application best practices relating to customer solutions, operational costs, network optimization and many other areas, with the shared objective of rapidly accelerating adoption of IoT around the globe, and reducing costs.

So, for example, if a water utility in one country is looking to develop and deploy an IoT solution that combines smart, remotely readable meters with remotely controlled valves, 0G UN would be able to help it identify similar applications deployed by any of the 72 Network Operators that were supporting such a system. At a more granular level 0G UN is able to provide feedback on how 0G enabled devices have been deployed and configured for specific use cases, solve specific problems, and on how overall costs have been minimized.

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Opening up global IoT opportunities

0G UN is also able to help developers take their solutions to global markets. Konvoy is an Australian company that supplies beer kegs on rental to more than 200 brewers in Australia and New Zealand. Being able to track kegs is fundamental to the viability of its business.
Konvoy worked with Thinxtra, the Australian 0G Network Operator, to take traditional RFID keg tracking to the next level. IoT device manufacturer UnaBiz, which is also a 0G Network Operator in Singapore, was commissioned by Konvoy to develop a device able to report, via the 0G Network, the location and temperature of beer kegs, along with impact and other movement data.
Thanks to the low power requirements of the 0G Network, the devices are able to send this data several times each day and still operate for seven years on an internal battery.
This innovative and game-changing service offering is now being marketed globally. As a global company, Sigfox is always on the lookout for IoT solutions with global potential and is able to use its resources to assess the potential for any use case in any of the markets served by 0G Networks.

Organisations around the world realise the value of IoT

ALPS Electric Europe GmbH partnered with Sigfox to deliver an IoT-enabled solution for DHL connecting 500,000 roll cage trackers to integrate location monitoring and analytics with its existing business processes to minimize loss of roll cages, ensure fast, reliable delivery, and seamless customer service. The solution has global traction and scale for improved supply chain efficiency.
In a similar use case scenario, Irish Sigfox 0G Network Operator VT – IoT worked closely with Irish postal company AN Post and the Danish Post Office to track thousands of roll cages, carts and containers for parcel processing and distribution.
An example in the utility industry is the collaboration with Tecsys, an IoT solution provider for powerline monitoring. It enables the powerline operator to quickly and easily find fault points in the power grid. Sigfox 0G Network Operators WND LATAM and Things-on-net, Thailand have been helping local utilities to improve operational efficiency and customer service with Tecsys’ 0G enabled solution.
IoT is still a rapidly evolving area, but one with enormous potential. Many organisations are aware of its potential but struggle both to identify the use cases that will bring the greatest benefit, and then to identify, source and deploy the technologies necessary to achieve their chosen deployment model.

Customer Benefits of 0G United Nations

In summary, once an organization has identified a use case, it then needs to determine what data it must collect, devices to collect that data, a network that will support the constraints of its solution, such as low power, long-range, long battery life, and find a system capable of gathering and analysing all the data and of managing the connected devices.
IoT adoption is increasing rapidly and there are no standard solutions to many of these challenges, but neither are they unique. Someone somewhere has faced and overcome most of them. 0G UN embraces the most experienced body of IoT knowledge and represents the broadest ecosystem in the global IoT market and is able to provide unique support to help organisations overcome the challenges of IoT and realise the business value.
0G UN combines local expertise and customer focus with global reach. It spans multiple industries and an enormous range of IoT applications, all built on robust standards to ensure future proof applications.
Any member can be a trusted advisor that organizations are able to tap into for solutions rather than re-inventing the wheel themselves. Each 0G UN member is able to leverage the power of the alliance to help customers and IoT application developers maximize the enormous potential of IoT.

img-board-Loïc Barancourt

As the Sigfox 0G Network Operator in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Macau, we, at Thinxtra, The IoT Telco, are proud to be a founding member of the 0G United Nations Association, and are committed to helping our customers and partners leveraging our global network to realise their IoT business opportunities.
We are just at the beginning of the IoT journey that will change the way we work not only for good, but also for the better. IoT solutions for our key markets in the Supply Chain, Logistics, Facilities Management and Utility sectors deliver already today more efficient, transparent and sustainable business processes. It is a new frontier where the physical world meets the digital world demanding more than ever collaboration to succeed.

Loic Barancourt, CEO, Thinxtra, The IoT Telco

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0G UN is the Global Association of 0G Network Operators, powered by Sigfox, the world’s leading IoT service provider.

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Infrastructure that Delivers e-Commerce Extends to IoT

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MHD sits down with Craig Stanford, Director of Active Supply Chains, to talk about the power of the e-commerce consumer, and the impact of the Internet of Things (IoT).

While we’ve all heard of the “keyboard warrior”, Craig Stanford, Director of Active Supply Chains, says that much of the future of success in the e-commerce space will depend on the “Google ratings warrior”.

The empowerment of consumers in rating products and services means a brand can suffer grave damage – or build quite a reputation – almost overnight, depending on how all aspects of their supply chain are handled in getting the product to a consumer.

“For people who have been in supply chains a long time, e-commerce is quite different from what they are used to,” Craig says. “It has a very strong speed to market focus, it has a very strong focus on predictability, and the consumer is more empowered than ever to direct immediate and often brutal feedback at the service or product, as many consumers don’t differentiate between the two.”

So, what are some of the key things supply chain professionals must consider in this consumer-centric environment?

“With e-commerce more companies are looking at holding stock forward,” says Craig. “Fulfilment centres can’t just be in Melbourne or Sydney anymore. That may have been convenient in an earlier era, because of the big population centres and so forth. But now companies are looking at holding stock forward in places like Perth, while perhaps not even holding stock in places like Sydney, which might be controversial from a traditional perspective. Certainly, you can hold stock in places like Melbourne, Brisbane, and Perth, and get same day or next day delivery to roughly 85 per cent of the Australian population. However, as the consumer gets more demanding and new same day and 4-hour offerings come into the market, holding decentralised stock forward and close to the consumer will become increasingly critical”

Craig says that using Australian sources where possible is another way in which businesses can improve their resilience, and thus their reliability in the eyes of the end-point consumer.

“On a broader scale, I think the last year has drawn attention to the necessity of diversifying supply points on a global scale,” he says. “We all know that people can be over-reliant on one country or one sourcing point. So, I think companies will look more and more towards diversifying their inbound supply chains and where they source from. Speaking for myself, I’m certainly for companies co-sourcing with an Australian supplier where possible so as to give more resilience to their supply chains and reinvesting in our great country.”

“Additionally, I think another important thing to consider infrastructure-wise is how you integrate your systems,” Craig says. “It’s not good enough these days in e-commerce for an online retailer to say: ‘We despatch within 48 hours.’ As a consumer, you don’t really care. You want to know when you’ll get it, which has a lot more to do with geography, transport modes available and other factors. That’s where the need for closer fulfilment centres comes in, and the ability for retailers to tell from your street address when you will actually receive your order.”

The Power of IoT

Craig says that IoT has many current and potential uses in tracking supply chains and guaranteeing successful product delivery.

img-ASCAP-Craig Stanford

We at Active Supply Chains have deployed IoT trackers from Thinxtra for a major automotive parts and accessories client which connect to Thinxtra’s national 0G [Zero G] Network to track the very expensive stillages that protect automotive freight. We can remotely track the location of these stillages within about a ten metre accuracy. We use an IoT solution from our partner Loscam which connects to the national Thinxtra 0G Network. It has worked better than I could ever have imagined.

Craig Stanford, Director of Active Supply Chains

Craig believes that the same technology could be deployed for home deliveries – such as groceries or fresh meals. “The point is that they need to be temperature controlled,” he says. “So, with IoT you could imagine putting a device such as an RFID device in every esky, put the esky in the vehicle, and the vehicle has an IoT device in it which links into 0G or 4 or 5G for that matter. Let’s say the IoT monitoring device shows no temperature breach – the sender will be very happy that they haven’t sent a consumer something which has gone off. But where there is a temperature breach, then a company has the opportunity to stop it, check it, tell the customer there’s been a delay, and tell them when they can expect a replacement item. This means more integrity for the brand, and as a consumer it gives you more confidence there has been no break in the cold- or temperature-chain.”

And as Craig says, ensuring the integrity of the product is paramount in this era of Google ratings warriors: “Because if something goes seriously wrong with storage of perishables, for example – and a temperature breach leads to disappointed, or worst case sick, customers – then your brand can be smashed.”

Yet, while Craig sees great potential in tracking the location and condition of goods through the IoT, he notes that uptake is just starting at scale.

“I think the value of it is high, but people have to move their mindset. The e-commerce model is largely based on a percentage of cost of goods sold. A lot of people in the retail space don’t intimately understand the cost of logistics components, but they do understand the percentage it represents as part of their cost of goods. If you’re in a market where you’re always pushing to be price competitive, then investing in tracking or monitoring technologies can still seem like an unnecessary cost.”

He argues that retailers will need to change their mindsets to realise the value of IoT in combination with other technologies such as RFID. Or it will simply be consumer driven, as consumers increasingly demand proper tracking and controls over products from retailers.

“Certainly a change of mindset was needed on the part of our organisation when we decided to track stillages with the Loscam Track & Trace IoT solution using the 0G Network,” Craig says. “That cost us money and it cost our client money. The payoff was that we didn’t lose these expensive stillages, we could reduce the size of the pool and our client’s costs, and we got better relationships due to improved reliability. But that investment took a leap of faith that the technology would pay off.”

IoT and the Chain of Custody

The value of IoT might seem obvious in terms of basic business-to-business or last-mile verification purposes, but Craig foresees greater importance for IoT on the horizon in ensuring the integrity of supply chains and chains of custody. Something that the end customer already demands.

“Increasingly we are having conversations around slave labour, conversations around ethical trade,” he says. “The US and Europe have been taking firmer positions, and I think Australia will increasingly take a firmer line on these issues, too. Increasingly the ‘last mile’ won’t be important unless the first thousand miles is done right. If we have an ethical product and its chain of custody then destroys its ethical component – or destroys its carbon footprint aspirations, to take another example – then the product loses its value in that dimension.”

That is why the ability to track the chain of custody using IoT and Thinxtra’s 0G Network will only get more important, Craig says.

“Again we return to the notion of the Google-ratings warriors and the demands they will be making on the receiving end in terms of ethical, environmental, or any other kind of chain-of-custody consideration,” he says. “The more you have under control in your first thousand miles, the easier you’ll be able to answer those questions from the consumer, and you’ll have the right product at the right time for that last mile. You won’t be caught flat-footed by the new demands of a changing market.”

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We know that, for any organisation, deploying IoT solutions at scale for the first time can be complex and challenging. You just don’t know what you don’t know. This is why we focus so much on working closely with our clients and partners to simplify the process and make the business case work. Craig Stanford, his team at Active Supply Chain and partner Loscam are setting a great example for unlocking the value in a collaborative and customer centric way.

Loic Barancourt, co-founder and CEO of Thinxtra, The IoT Telco

IoT: The Answer to Intercontinental Shipment Tracking

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img-board-Loïc Barancourt

With many supply chain operations facing unprecedented challenges, Internet of Things has stepped up as an unlikely ally in revolutionising the way we use data to solve complex shipping and tracking issues.

Loic Barancourt
CEO, CO-FOUNDER – Thinxtra, The IoT Telco

It’s no surprise we are seeing more and more supply chain organisations demanding accurate, real-time data about the location and condition of shipments on both a national and intercontinental scale.

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic – and more recently the MV Ever Given crisis in the Suez Canal – unprecedented challenges were created for supply chain management. The ongoing situation has been described as a sea freight crisis, with prices going up and services going down. Within the past 12 months, the cost of one container shipment between China and Melbourne increased from US$2000 to US$5000, while only 44 per cent of ships arrived when they were scheduled to. At the same time, the Shanghai Containerised Freight Index grew by 280 per cent from US$1100 to US$2800 in just one year.

In these times of great uncertainty, access to dependable, real time data is a huge challenge for most supply chain operations. Reliable information about where the container is, and when it will arrive at the destination, has become difficult to obtain. In our world of on-demand supply and lean manufacturing, this is clearly a huge risk.

Today, the Internet of Things (IoT), while not an obvious solution, offers the exact location and condition information that organisations such as Michelin use at scale to mitigate risk. The company felt the pain of inefficient freight tracking and decided to take control by partnering with Sigfox, the world’s leading IoT Service provider and inventor of the 0G Network technology, and Argon & Co, a global management consultancy specialising in operations strategy and transformation. The result was Safecube, an IoT solution provider which specialises in locating intercontinental shipments and tracks their transport condition, including temperature, humidity and shock. All of a sudden, Michelin’s problems were solved.

“IoT-based track&trace solutions automatically give reliable and granular data about shipments: it opens many opportunities to improve your operational performance. First, there are quick wins related to better steering of your flows thanks to realtime visibility. Moreover, data can be leveraged to spot optimisation opportunities, improve transport schemes, have a more balanced relationship with transport providers, and offer better customer service,” Raphael Anasthase, Sales Director at Safecube says.

We are now seeing the significant impact of sea freight dynamics in our local Australian and New Zealand markets. With containers and assets having become scarce and globally imbalanced, lead times have increased, and reliability has decreased, resulting in escalated costs and risk. Frans Verheij, Partner at Argon & Co says having real-time location and status visibility of containers is more important than ever to efficiently manage end-to-end supply chains. Argon & Co provides transformational and digital supply chain consulting services to maximise the operational effectiveness of Safecube’s technology. Partnering with Thinxtra, The IoT Telco, the trio provides a comprehensive global end-to-end solution.

How It Works

Despite reverse logistics being notorious for its negative implications – such as the loss of revenue for companies and supply chains resulting from initiatives like free returns – it actually has a positive role to play when it comes to the implementation of reusable IoT tracking devices. Safecube utilises reverse logistics to save on costs by sending back their tracking devices to be re-used again with shipments already on their way back. The devices travel with the shipment inside the container, and upon arrival at the destination, are returned for re-use in the next shipment. The tracking device is able to send real-time communication via the global 0G Network and vessels’ automatic tracking system (AIS) at any point during the journey. It sends real time alerts and data insights to help track and monitor from the beginning to final point of delivery.

The innovative solution is the answer to putting a stop to endless emails and phone calls in an attempt to find out what is really going on with shipments. This makes supply chain operations less dependent on their service providers, while at the same time getting their control back. In Europe, exporters have been deploying low cost tracking for intercontinental cargo – and the result is always knowing where your container is.

“Safecube’s IoT solution enabled Michelin to transmit the location of the goods to our customer quickly. This avoids the need to mandate an emergency air transport and therefore to preserve the customer relationship,” says Frédéric Jeandin, Distribution Manager at Aircraft Tyre Michelin. Operational scalability allows seamless tracking, with long battery life of the devices allowing tracking without the need to recharge.

In terms of data, insights deliver much more value than knowing where the shipment is and how it’s doing. The end-to-end track and trace solution data enables a multitude of benefits with day-to-day operational savings. Reduced in-transit lead time and inventory, reduced demurrage fees and detention costs, alerts of delay or transport conditions and visibility and better service for customers are just a few of the benefits achieved through data insights. Condition monitoring data enables the management of deviation in realtime, which allows the identification and tracking of responsibilities. The technology can even deliver flows re-engineering, sea routes optimisation and transport mode balance, which informs flow performance assessments and the testing of new transport solutions.

Numbers Talk

After the implementation of Safecube, Michelin quickly saw real results in its operations. The company achieved a four-day reduction of in-transit inventory on a route from Antwerp to Chicago and saved 40 tonnes of CO2 for each shipment by transferring from air to sea freight. It was also able to successfully reduce detention costs by €150 per day, per container through container sleeping alerts in arrival ports.

Evidently, the IoT is able to deliver the transparency supply chain operations needed to gain the data insights for better decision making and better customer experience. Our new normal has clearly lifted the importance of risk management and operational agility over yesterday’s cost reduction objectives. The close collaboration between Thinxtra, The IoT Telco, with our solution partnerSafecube and the management consultancy Argon & Co brings all the elements together required to leverage the power of IoT.

About Argon & Co

Argon & Co is a global management consultancy that specialises in operations strategy and transformation. Its expertise spans the supply chain, procurement, finance and shared services, working together with clients to transform their businesses and generate real change. Its people are engaging to work with and trusted by clients to get the job done.
Argon & Co has offices in Paris, London, Abu Dhabi, Atlanta, Auckland, Melbourne, Mumbai and Singapore.
www.argonandco.com

About Safecube

Safecube is born from a partnership between Argon&co, Sigfox and Michelin to help the tire manufacturer to regain control and accelerate their intercontinental supply chain. Today, Safecube deploys and diversifies its solution worldwide in a large range of business sectors such as the automotive industry, aeronautics, petrochemistry, luxe, agrifood, healthcare, luxury, retail, manufacturing…
www.safecube.com

Internet of Things (IoT), The Nervous System of Global Supply Chains

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Supply Chains are the beating heart of the world’s economy. When that heartbeat faltered at the start of the Covid pandemic two things happened: consumers became acutely aware of the importance of supply chains, and a new agenda appeared around supply chain innovation to create more agile and resilient supply chain systems.

The pandemic sharpened the understanding that supply chain industry leaders and global corporations already had, to varying degrees: supply chain disruption that has been growing in frequency and magnitude for 10+ years is not going away.

And according to Bain & Company’s Expert Partner Gerry Mattios, speaking at the global Sigfox Connect conference in Nov 2020. “Industry leaders are prioritising risk mitigation as much as cost reduction. Increasing resilience is almost three times as important a priority for supply chain leaders in the next three years, compared to the last three years.”

Don’t Predict: Plan

You can’t predict an oil crisis, you can’t predict a war, you can’t predict another pandemic, and you can’t really predict a security hack. All you know is that any one of these, or any number of other challenges, is at some point likely to happen. Supply chain managers can, though, focus on what they can control, rather than on what they can’t predict.

As we navigate our way towards the post Covid era, we need to consider what supply chain organisations can do differently to manage crises and build resilience for the future.

1. Build in Redundancy to Your ERP System

Cyber attacks on supply chains are on the rise. According to Symantec’s latest Internet Security Threat Report, attacks on supply chain have increased by 78%, and ERP systems are a prime target.

Mitigating ERP cyber attacks has become a major board issue as executives now understand where that sits on the risk register. Hint: it’s ‘catastrophic impact’ and ‘likely’ to occur.

What happens when you can’t access the ERP system that is the lifeblood of your business? Your business stops.

To help mitigate this risk, supply chain leaders need to be working closely with IT security and risk management leaders to develop joint cybersecurity risk management approaches to their business and consider alternate solutions that do not rely totally on core IT/ERP systems for critical data transfer.

What if you had a separate system to tell you where your assets are? A system independent from your traditional transactional core systems. Then you have a way to control, mitigate and compartmentalise-risk.

Boards around the world are talking more about mitigating the impacts of cyber attacks on supply chains particularly sensitive to DDoS attacks (in which the network is overwhelmed with so many messages that it shuts down) on ERP systems. We see accelerating adoption around the world of IoT solutions that allow supply chain operations to deploy asset tracking and condition monitoring solutions offering independent access to essential information via the public, secure and global 0G Network.

If your ERP system gets hacked, you’d see value in knowing where all your shipments , containers or assets are across your national and global supply chain, literally 24/7 without any manual reporting.

It’s one way to build in much needed redundancy.

2. Improve Connected Visibility Now

Knowing where your assets are is a very quick way of mitigating risk.

What could supply chain leaders have done differently this year, had they known more about their supply chain assets location and condition?

Investing in secure, effective tracking technologies is imperative because it means identifying risks and stopping them in their tracks.

It means faster reaction times when things go wrong. It means you can rapidly identify disruptive demand and supply situations and secure alternate suppliers. Visibility builds resilience.

In many ways, this is the promise of IIoT. And it’s being realised by more and more global supply chain businesses around the world, especially through 0G technology.

Unfortunately, marketing around 5G has become so inflated that it is seen as a ‘silver bullet’. 5G has become a ‘catch all’ term that promises to deliver a long awaited utopian future of economic prosperity. But it’s not a silver bullet. Different technologies are fit for different purposes.

The technologies that have activated most large-scale IoT sensor networks for asset tracking in the supply chain, to date; are inexpensive non-cellular low-power wide-area (LPWA) technologies like LoRaWAN and Sigfox, not 4G LTE, and not 5G at all, yet. Sure, these technologies are coming, and they will compliment existing connectivity approaches and expand the market, but smart businesses won’t wait for that day.

While 5G is intended to bring faster speeds, Sigfox 0G technology is designed to serve distinct use cases where communication range must reach further, penetrate dense physical structures, and allow battery-operated infrequent communication devices to last in the field for extended periods of time.

While 5G may be optimal for video calls or smart goods in the home, the 0G Network is ideal for supply chain asset tracking, water, gas metering, agriculture, smart building, and smart park applications among others – IoT is already revolutionizing so many of these industries.

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3. Reduce Human Error – Invest in Automation

Tracking and tracing assets is the first step in improving supply chain visibility and lifting resilience.

But as we explored earlier, a core system going down can compromise that data access.

If you can get your assets to tell you where they are, there’s less reliance on systems, and on humans running around gathering data.

In the case of Asia Pacific leading asset pooling company Loscam and their partner ACTIVE , finding lost assets scattered across Australia took “a massive amount of work”. They were manually tracking them down, even physically putting employees on planes to fly interstate and retrieve returnable packaging units that had been lost in transit. This was before they deployed a successful IoT asset tracking project.

Within four months of ACTIVE deploying Loscam’s end-to-end IoT-enabled solution operating long range, long battery-life 0G-enabled devices, it discovered 5% of units were incorrectly delivered to a competitor’s warehouse and 8% of units moved outside the customer’s logistics provider network. Although it is a common industry issue, seeing the actual data of the assets as they move between networks was a true light bulb moment.

Loscam

The technology brought a much needed increase in visibility and control of assets, operational efficiency and asset utilisation. In one customer scenario, namely Mitsubishi Motors in Australia, it reduced the number of units needed by 30%, bottom line savings that were passed onto a delighted customer.

Track, Trace and Tell technology also improves efficiency through automating manual tasks. If nobody has to scan packages anymore, because the asset has become “smart” and can inform you of its location, human error is eliminated. There is less loss, less untraceable theft.

It’s all about enabling you to do less and get information with more accuracy, and faster.

In Europe, German-based DHL international courier parcel and express mail service deployed 250,000 logistics trackers in only six months to locate their postal roll cages. These insights mean that DHL can optimise asset utilisation and mitigate risks of shortfalls or bottlenecks due to unforeseen events or cyclical demand peaks.

When it comes to intercontinental shipping examples, Michelin transformed its tyre shipment efficiency with IoT -enabled containers across 170 countries. Other than gaining crucial transparency for better decision making across a complex supply chain to mitigate risks, other benefits include better route planning, less complex administration across many network partners and a much enhanced customer experience.

4. Screen Suppliers & Document High-value Data Flow

Supply chains are highly vulnerable due to the fact that they are, by nature, interconnected. Third-party suppliers can create something of a weakest link if not inspected properly for their commitment to security -an Opus and Ponemon Institute study showed that at least 59% of organisations have suffered from cyber attacks through third-party companies.

Competitive supply chains need a flexible system of suppliers and partners that offer the ability to swap input materials and components and rapidly introduce new products.

Dun & Bradstreet researchers found that 51,000 companies worldwide, 163 of which are in the Fortune 1000, had one or more direct or “Tier 1” suppliers in Wuhan, China, the city where the coronavirus hit first, while at least 5 million — 938 in the Fortune 1000 — had one or more “tier 2″ suppliers there.

There is no easy solution to ensuring end-to-end security, but organisations can start by defining their security requirements and thoroughly vetting each supplier before bringing them onboard as a regular partner.

A recent Gartner report on supply chain cyber security also encouraged supply chain leaders to research and document the flow of high-value supply chain data and information across systems outside core IT systems.

Ensuring regular communication and a strong cyber-risk management program can help companies gain a deeper understanding of suppliers and enable stronger collaboration.

Use the Lessons of 2020 to Plan for the Future

Creating a multifaceted supply chain strategy will cost money, but investing in strong risk management could save your company and your business. Those who use a crisis to make investments and accelerate change come out better off. Resilient supply chains not only recover from disruption, with the right level of investment, they can become a source of competitive advantage.

As the year comes to an end, it’s worth reflecting on what you could have done differently with greater visibility and data in 2020, and use those lessons to plan for next year.

Our future looks to hold just as much uncertainty and upheaval, but armed with the knowledge and insight from 2020, plus innovative technologies and strong board appetite for change, supply chain leaders can succeed in building greater resilience.

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0G UN is the Global Association of 0G Network Operators, powered by Sigfox, the world’s leading IoT service provider.

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IoT: The Real Game Changer

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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.

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It’s a very traditional industry that hasn’t really had a desire to innovate or look at ways of doing things differently.

Peter Taylor,
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 to Peter says. o 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.

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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 was 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.

How to Ensure Your IoT Solution is Fit-For-Purpose

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We explore five key considerations to deliver scalable fit-for-purpose IoT solutions for the supply chain industry.

Sam Sharief
COO – Thinxtra, The IoT Telco

As technological innovation advances, it is common for prices to drop and products to improve and the Internet of Things (IoT) has followed this common trend.

For the supply chain and logistics industry, IoT solutions promise endless innovative applications that deliver operational efficiencies, create business opportunities and support competitive advantage.

Yet, despite widespread IoT interest, debate and many trials, it is rare to find industrial IoT projects that have reliably scaled.

In our experience of working with many different organisations in this industry, the biggest challenge for scaling occurs because most IoT trials and Proof of Concepts (PoCs) aim to only prove the technology’s capabilities. Most don’t seek to prove, validate or understand the business benefits that could be unlocked by the data insights IoT solutions can deliver.

The key for successful fit-for-purpose industrial IoT solutions lies in the ability to translate the data into actions which ultimately realise the value, regardless of the technology choice.

5 Key Considerations to Deliver Scalable Fit-for-purpose IoT Solutions for the Supply Chain Industry

The key to unlocking true business value at scale lies in designing IoT solutions that are fit-for-purpose for your business. Over the last five years, we have learned from countless projects:

1. Technology Agnostic Approach

It might come as a surprise as we are talking about technology, and despite what many may claim, there is no single IoT technology, solution, or standard that can solve every business problem. In fact, the opposite claim is probably more accurate: the business requirements, operational and cost constraints will eventually lead to the right technology choices.
Every IoT technology brings different strengths and weaknesses. They only emerge when data requirements are mapped to specific operational needs, may they be at local or global scale.
The plethora of IoT solutions available in the market can be confusing and challenging to navigate. Successful industrial IoT projects are technology agnostic, and need to easily become a natural extension of day-to-day operations. This means the solution needs to be easy to implement and maintain, be robust, reliable and scalable wherever the business operates, regardless of the underlying technology.

2. Clarity of The Business Problem or Opportunity

Instead of seeking the latest bright new shiny technology to adopt, the best starting point for leaders is to ask what business problems IoT technology needs to solve and bring the right stakeholders together. Like any transformation project, the adoption of IoT solutions requires a holistic view to orchestrate changes across multiple functions in any organisation.
For example, if the customer experience can be improved to maintain competitiveness, or operational costs can be lowered, gathering accurate location or condition information of assets as they move through the network could enable these outcomes to be achieved.
If the objective is to support growing demand whilst minimising additional capex expenditure, increasing asset utilisation through data insights can enable the reduction of loss rates, remote asset visibility and therefore faster asset rotation.

3. Ultimately it is all about Data: Requirements and Value

IoT is more about data than the name suggests. Data from connected devices help run and optimise a business by enabling faster, better quality decision-making. Devices attached to the assets you monitor share updates on key tracking criteria, such as location, temperature or humidity, at regular or event driven intervals. Imagine your asset “could tell you” when it is staying for more than the contracted 60 days in a clients warehouse, or sends an alert when it leaves a defined area.
Data produced from devices can trigger automated workflows or alert stakeholders to take action, faster and more efficiently than through traditional, manual information flow. For example, if a device monitoring temperature inside a truck transporting chilled goods between cities indicates the temperature is rising above approved levels, an automated alert notifies the Logistics Manager, or truck driver, of the problem. Corrective action occurs based on data produced in real-time.
Once the data requirements, production methods, processing and management costs are defined, the project team can focus on designing the best fit-for-purpose solution, across devices, data, connectivity, digital platforms, process flows and operational support.

4. Fit-for-purpose Solution Requirement List

Although many business environments may seem similar, no two businesses are identical in their business offering or operational practices. These differences mean it is rare to plug-and-play an IoT solution out-of-the-box without the need for some customisation. For example, IoT Devices must be attached to physical assets in a way that won’t hinder existing operations. The logistical costs of attaching thousands of devices onto assets also means the device must be durable, quick to install, and able to withstand different weather, temperatures, humidity and vibration, all the way down to the choices of the right screws, material or brackets.
Similarly, the battery life of the IoT Device has a very significant impact on ROI. Ideally it supports the lifetime of the asset, which can be many years, and delivers a set-and-forget deployment. Every business has different asset types, from wooden crates, beer kegs, shopping trolleys, baggage trolleys, vehicles, and even livestock. Considering all these variables means that you are served best by a fit-for-purpose solution that is configurable and flexible with minimum changes to be made.

5. Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)

The Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of an IoT initiative is a key decision factor for every organisation and must include the operational BAU impact and required changes across the business.
A holistic approach is needed to consider all cost drivers for the IoT project deployment, and on an ongoing basis. Critical to include in TCO calculations are costs of:
  • purchase, or design and development of the right IoT devices to produce and communicate the required data.
  • quality, reliability and life of the battery to run the IoT device.
  • installation, deployment and maintenance costs.
  • customisation for efficient operation.
  • reliable communications of the data.
  • the digital platform enabling workflows that use the data to create operational efficiencies.
  • change management to nurture and sustain adoption.
Successful IoT solutions create significant business value to justify the investment costs of transformation and beyond.

How IIoT Solutions for Asset Tracking Deliver Real Value to the Supply and Logistics Industry

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Welcome to the replay of MHD Supply Chain magazine’s latest webinar, “How IIoT solutions for asset tracking deliver value to the supply and logistics industry”.

Hosted by Mel Stark, Editor of MHD Supply Chain magazine, three industry experts share how their companies came together to deploy an IoT-enabled Track & Trace solution. A 30 per cent increase in asset utilisation and a greatly improved customer experience for clients such as Mitsubishi Motors are just some examples of measurable benefits.

You’ll hear from:

  • Daniel Bunnett, Executive Vice President, Australia and New Zealand, Loscam
  • Craig Stanford, Director, Active Supply Chains
  • Loic Barancourt, CEO and Co-Founder of Thinxtra, The IoT Telco
Together, the panellists describe a real-world Australian case study where Loscam, a leading pallet provider across Asia-Pacific, partnered with Thinxtra to deploy an IoT- enabled Track and Trace solution in collaboration with ACTIVE Supply Chain, a supply chain and logistics provider. In the past, IoT-enabled Track and Trace solutions delivering real-time information on asset location and condition information across a supply chain proved too costly and complex for widespread adoption.
The discussion outlines how Thinxtra’s national 0G Network, offering low-cost, low-power, wide-area network coverage, has changed that, by enabling an economically viable and operationally scalable solution to remotely monitor supply chain assets.
Watch the MHD webinar replay below for more insights on how the IIoT optimises supply chains, or contact us for more information.

Learn more about Thinxtra’s Supply Chain and Logistics Solutions. Have a look on the industry website pages.

IoT and “The Last Mile”

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Welcome to the first episode of “The Last Mile” webinar, hosted by Craig Stanford, Director of Active Supply Chains.

In this episode, three industry leaders share practical insights into how the IoT can improve logistics operations and asset tracking across Australia. You’ll hear from:

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Michael Winter
Customer Solutions Manager
@ LOSCAM Group
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Caine Groves
General Manager Operations
@ Active Supply Chains
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Anthony Stewart
General Manager Sales
@ Thinxtra, The IoT Telco

Each panellist brings unique perspectives on real-world IoT supply chain implementations, including the key reasons that organisations running supply chains embrace IoT and the advantages of IoT over other asset tracking applications, such as RFID.

The trio share functional viewpoints into the usage of IoT-enabled Track and Trace solutions in their business to improve location tracking, transparency and asset management. During the discussion you’ll also hear about the challenges, learnings and unexpected benefits that developed through each implementation.

Watch this ieTV episode to learn how IoT is a game changer for supply chains!

Four Ways Supply Chain Leaders can Mitigate Risk in 2021

Four Ways Supply Chain Leaders Can Mitigate Risk In 2021

Supply chains are the beating heart of Australia and the world’s economy.

When that heartbeat faltered at the start of the Covid pandemic two things happened: consumers became acutely aware of the importance of supply chains, and a new agenda appeared around supply chain innovation to create more agile and resilient supply chain systems.

The pandemic sharpened the understanding that supply chain industry leaders and global corporations already had, to varying degrees: supply chain disruption that has been growing in frequency and magnitude for 10+ years is not going away.

Resilinc ISM Report
Source: Resilinc ISM report

And according to Bain & Company’s Expert Partner Gerry Mattios, speaking at SigfoxConnect last month:

Gerry Mattios

Industry leaders are prioritising risk mitigation as much as cost reduction. Increasing resilience is almost three times as important a priority for supply chain leaders in the next three years, compared to the last three years.

Gerry Mattios
Bain & Company’s Expert Partner

Don’t Predict: Plan

You can’t predict an oil crisis, you can’t predict a war, you can’t predict another pandemic, and you can’t really predict a security hack. All you know is that any one of these, or any number of other challenges, is at some point likely to happen.

Supply chain managers can, though, focus on what they can control, rather than on what they can’t predict

As we approach the end of 2020, let’s look broadly at the outlook for 2021 and consider what supply chain organisations can do differently to manage crises and build resilience for the future.

1. Build in Redundancy to Your ERP System

Cyber attacks on supply chains are on the rise. According to Symantec’s latest Internet Security Threat Report, attacks on supply chain have increased by 78%, and ERP systems are a prime target.

Supply Chain Attacks

Source: Symantec

Mitigating ERP cyber attacks has become a major board issue as executives now understand where that sits on the risk register. Hint: it’s ‘catastrophic impact’ and ‘likely’ to occur.

What happens when you can’t access the ERP system that is the lifeblood of your business? Your business stops.

To help mitigate this risk, supply chain leaders need to be working closely with IT security and risk management leaders to develop joint cybersecurity risk management approaches to their business.

They should consider alternate solutions that do not rely totally on ERP systems for critical data transfer.

What if you had a separate system to tell you where your assets are? A system independent from your ERP. Then you’ve controlled, mitigated and compartmentalised risk.

As I wrote about in my last article, boards are talking more about mitigating the impacts of cyber attacks on supply chains particularly sensitive to DDoS attacks (in which the network is overwhelmed with so many messages that it shuts down) on ERP systems by relying on third party asset location solutions running on 0G networks.

The reason for that is the global 0G Network is highly secure by design and less susceptible to network attacks – making it ideal for IIoT applications.

If your ERP system gets hacked in 2021, you’d see value in knowing where all your shipments are, and all your containers are across your global supply chain, via the 0G Network.

It’s one way to build in much needed redundancy.

2. Improve Connected Visibility Now – No Need to Wait for 5G

Knowing where your assets are is a very quick way of mitigating risk.

What could supply chain leaders have done differently this year, had they known more about their supply chain assets location and condition?

Investing in secure, effective tracking technologies is imperative because it means identifying risks and stopping them in their tracks.

It means faster reaction times when things go wrong. It means you can rapidly identify disruptive demand and supply situations and secure alternate suppliers. Visibility builds resilience.

In many ways, this is the promise of IIoT. And it’s being realised by more and more global supply chain businesses around the world, especially through 0G technology.

Unfortunately, marketing around 5G has become so inflated that it is seen as a ‘silver bullet’. 5G has become a ‘catch all’ term that promises to deliver a long awaited utopian future of economic prosperity. But it’s not a silver bullet. Different technologies are fit for different purposes.

The technologies that have activated most large-scale IoT sensor networks for asset tracking in the supply chain, to date; are inexpensive non-cellular low-power wide-area (LPWA) technologies like LoRaWAN and Sigfox, not 4G LTE, and not 5G at all, yet. Sure, these technologies are coming, and they will compliment existing connectivity approaches and expand the market, but smart businesses won’t wait for that day.

While 5G is intended to bring faster speeds, Sigfox 0G technology is designed to serve distinct use cases where communication range must reach further, penetrate dense physical structures, and allow battery-operated infrequent communication devices to last in the field for extended periods of time.

While 5G may be optimal for video calls or smart goods in the home, the 0G Network is ideal for supply chain asset tracking, water, gas metering, agriculture, smart building, and smart park applications among others – IoT is already revolutionizing so many of these industries.

3. Reduce Human Error – Invest in Automation

Tracking and tracing assets is the first step in improving supply chain visibility and lifting resilience.

But as we explored earlier, an ERP system going down can compromise that data access.

If you can get your assets to tell you where they are, there’s less reliance on systems, and on humans running around gathering data.

In the case of ASCAP, finding lost assets scattered across Australia took “a massive amount of work”. They were manually tracking them down, even physically putting employees on planes to fly interstate and retrieve returnable packaging units that had been lost in transit. This was before they deployed a successful IoT asset tracking project.

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Within four months of ASCAP’s returnable packaging partner Loscam deploying a end-to-end IoT-enabled solution operating long range, long battery-life 0G-enabled devices, it discovered 5% of units were incorrectly delivered to a competitor’s warehouse and 8% of units moved outside the customer’s logistics provider network.

The technology brought a much needed increase in visibility and control of assets, operational efficiency and asset utilisation. In one customer scenario, it reduced the number of units needed by 25%, enabling tens of thousands of dollars of savings to be passed onto customers each year.

Track, Trace and Tell technology also improves efficiency through automating manual tasks. If nobody has to scan packages anymore, because the package informs you of its location, human error is eliminated. There is less loss, less untraceable theft.

It’s all about enabling you to do less and get information with more accuracy, and faster.

4. Screen Suppliers & Document High-value Data Access Flow

Supply chains are highly vulnerable due to the fact that they are, by nature, interconnected. Third-party suppliers can create something of a weakest link if not inspected properly for their commitment to security -an Opus and Ponemon Institute study showed that at least 59% of organisations have suffered from cyberattacks through third-party companies.

Competitive supply chains need a flexible system of suppliers and partners that offer the ability to swap input materials and components and rapidly introduce new products.

Dun & Bradstreet researchers found that 51,000 companies worldwide, 163 of which are in the Fortune 1000, had one or more direct or “Tier 1” suppliers in Wuhan, China, the city where the coronavirus hit first, while at least 5 million — 938 in the Fortune 1000 — had one or more “tier 2″ suppliers there.

There is no easy solution to ensuring end-to-end security, but organisations can start by defining their security requirements and thoroughly vetting each supplier before bringing them onboard as a regular partner.

A recent Gartner report on supply chain cyber security also encouraged supply chain leaders to research and document the flow of high-value supply chain data and information across systems outside core IT systems.

Ensuring regular communication and a strong cyber-risk management program can help companies gain a deeper understanding of suppliers and enable stronger collaboration.

Use the Lessons of 2020 to Plan for the Future

Creating a multifaceted supply chain security strategy will cost money, but investing in strong risk management could save your company and your business. Those who use a crisis to make investments and accelerate change come out better off. Resilient supply chains not only recover from disruption, with the right level of investment, they can become a source of competitive advantage.

As the year comes to an end, it’s worth reflecting on what you could have done differently with greater visibility and data in 2020, and use those lessons to plan for next year.

2021 looks to hold just as much uncertainty and upheaval, but armed with the knowledge and insight from 2020, plus innovative technologies and strong board appetite for change, supply chain leaders can succeed in building greater resilience.