Telematics Applications in Cold Chain Logistics

Written by Muhammad Khairi Bin Roseli, DLSM

In cold chain transportation, the stakes are high. Fines for regulatory non-compliance, losses from spoiled perishable merchandise or worst, sick end-consumers can be the result of uncontrolled temperatures. The food and drink transportation industry is going through a revolution, influenced by modern consumer needs, new regulatory pressures and innovations in technology. In order to stay competitive and compliant, manufacturers need to act promptly or risk falling behind.

Fleet management
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Understanding Telematics Technology

Basically, it is anamalgamation of two technologies, namely telecommunications and informatics.It is the technology that is increasingly used in the automotive segment for vehicle tracking and monitoring and also to send, receive and store information. It is an aftermarket solutions cater to the automotive industry. It communicates and controls remote objects. Usage of telematics in fleets involve monitoring the location through satellite GPS, movement as well as status in building a comprehensive and accurate view of their networks data.

It provides intelligent fuel location, local business search/recommendation, en route news, weather and traffic updates while providing in-vehicle entertainment as well as real-time data communications. It gathers the speed and position of cars to alleviate traffic jams, enables location reporting or sharing. It provides wireless safety and hazard alerts, emergency or roadside assistance request for freight trailer and container tracking.

In-vehicle video systems provide alerts for anti-collision, lane deviation and other safety warnings. It can also be used to automatically adjust the speed of the vehicle based on the official speed limit.Electronic signatures ensures the safe delivery of goods while keeping logistics’ operators informed about shipping schedules in real-time. It allows warehousing and logistics to correctly receive and deliver goods and to eliminate blind spots in the business.

Investigation and Assessment

The main responsibility of the main distributor or forwarder is to identify weaknesses in existing practices to safeguard quality of product. Best practice for customer care is to set up investigation team to enforce, implement and conduct supply chain security and quality investigations. With telematics, stages of a cold chain can include data and accurate locations where products are transformed, change hands through transport, docks hangers and internal checkpoints and stops while collecting evidence to link each stage of a product’s journey, from its origin. Such investigations and findings can have an impact on the reputation and the financial status of the companies involved. An important aspect in supply chain is traceability which is the passing of information from one stage to the next.

Unpredictable nature of cold chain research means that it is not always possible to anticipate and forecast risk as it is a natural part of the supply chain ecosystem but getting early insight and improving past trends. With IoT devices, use of sensors to measure aspects of the chain such as location, humidity, temperature, movement, light levels, handling, speed of movement and other environmental factors. It come in many form such as RFID chips, smart devices and mobile sensors.

Risk management is another area where supply chain transparency is essential and assess weak link that would jeopardize product integrity.

Quality Securities

Alerts will be given in the form of real-time text messages or e-mails. It is programmed for cargo monitoring such as difference of ambient and inside temperature to the set point, failure to turn on the refrigeration unit or ULD/reefer door opened, unauthorized handling of temperature active equipment. It also caters to the safety of drivers and equipment such as doors openings outside authorized areas, unauthorized motion detection and speed alerts.

  • Simplify compliance

Third-party temperature measurement will be logged in the cloud and allows easy access to online reports for as long as needed.

  • Protect your goods

You will benefit from real-time alerts that enable you to react quickly when problems arise, and save valuable merchandise.

  • Increase productivity

You can go from manual temperature reporting to a fully automated connected solution.

Quality securities
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Block Chain for Telematics Technology

Full visibility over fleet performance and control over the way telematics data is collected, interpreted and utilised is a key to true success of manufacturers wanting to lead the way.These pointers should be considered in order to remain compliant with industry regulations, now and in the future. IOT provides better visibility, Cloud Computing as connected vehicles can now be monitored in their unit temperature in real time and share this data. This can help businesses meet, compliance and business targets.The vehicle-generated traffic data can inform the driver of safety, mobility or environment-related conditions on their route. Data sharing and online communication will form a channel of communication from HQ to the warehouse to the end-consumer. This can quickly prevent or resolve issues such as temperature changes within a trailer.

Benefits of Telematics Technology

Drivers tend to perform according to company and regulatory standards which ensure safety habits when management can view how fast vehicles are being driven, how quickly they accelerate from a stop and other indicators of behaviour thus accidents and damage to vehicles can be reduced. Rewards or counselling can be given based on their performance. Daily routines can be better controlled with electronic logs to find out duration they have left to better collaborate with dispatchers in meeting customer’s demands. They can attend training at time and place of their convenience using their smartphones and tablets. Those who feel disconnected can virtually attend company meeting which improves their daily communication with managers.

Saved idling time across a fleet can lead to huge fuel savings thus reduction in operating costs. Drivers can be contacted via cab-mounted tablets where fleet managers can instantaneously update them on detours, reroute around heavy traffic and direct to preferred fuel vendors. The sensors deliver alerts about engine problems and other diagnostic issues, while informing routing centres when a vehicle is out of service. The cache of vehicle data can help in fleet overhaul and replacement planning. The proactive schedule alerts allow drivers and managers to plan for maintenance rather than running a truck to the point of failure.Security of business applications will not be compromised even when drivers use company-issued tablets for entertainment and communication during downtime.

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Good behaviour
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Conclusion

Data is everywhere and everything can be tracked now, whether using smart phones or other hardware to monitor tasks. Visibility of carriers’ information shows not only where the truck is located but also the temperature of the trailers. However, the challenge today is to bring information from multiple providers to one platform. Block chain technology is able to do that since it operates as a distributed database that is updated in real time. Telematics can record the exact time the truck delivers, through the geofence, along with other information which can be fed to the block in real time. Most importantly, the data can share certain information which brings supply chain transparency to the industry and track rising costs.Decentralized locations is used for data storage and is easy to monitor. It provides a level of security and confidence, since information cannot be changed as it is purely technology driven.


References

Abel Seah, DLSM. (2020). “Essential Logistical Process for Cold Chain Operations”. Retrieved from SIPMM: https://sipmm.edu.sg/essential-logistical-process-cold-chain-operations/, accessed 01/12/2020.

Johann Van Der Westhuizen. (2020). “The Network Effect” Retrieved from https://supplychainbeyond.com/real-time-supply-chain-gps-and-telematics-more-essential-than-ever/, accessed 30/11/2020.

Marie Ann Dionaldo, DLSM. (2020). “Automation Technologies for Logistics Service Providers”. Retrieved from SIPMM: https://sipmm.edu.sg/automation-technologies-logistics-service-providers/, accessed 01/12/2020.

Masternaut (2020). “The future of cold chain transportation” Retrieved from https://www.masternaut.com/hubfs/5281758/WEBSITE/UK/UK%20-%20TCS/UK%20-%20PDFs/Non_index_PDF/masternaut-the-future-of-cold-chain-transportation.pdf, accessed 01/12/2020.

Ng Song Heng Andy, DLSM. (2020). “Real-Time Location System for Distribution Logistics”. Retrieved from SIPMM: https://sipmm.edu.sg/real-time-location-system-distribution-logistics/, accessed 01/12/2020.

About the Author Muhammad Khairi Bin Roseli has several years of experience in the cold chain industry, and is currently working with a global leader in temperature active unit load devices. He is a member of Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM). Khairi completed the Diploma in Logistics and Supply Management (DLSM) on December 2020 at SIPMM Institute.

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