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How the IoT (internet of Things) is empowering the logistics industry and reducing supply chain costs, starting with the humble shipping pallet

Asset Tracking, Customer Stories
Mohsen Mohseninia, Vice president, European market development, Aeris

When compared to flashier innovations made possible by the Internet of Things (IoT), such as driverless cars and smart cities, an IoT-enabled shipping pallet can seem mundane. However, the smart technologies and sensors powered by wireless networks have the potential to deliver significant annual savings in supply chain costs.

According to Swedish analyst company Berg Insight there are approximately 10 billion shipping pallets currently in use worldwide. By implementing IoT tracking and developing a platform to analyse shipping data, connected pallets could greatly increase supply chain efficiency and prevent inventory loss. As these benefits become more widely known, spending on track-and-trace IoT is expected to grow by 24.2% from 2017 to 2023, according to a report from Forrester.

Even as we begin to exit COVID restrictions, the emphasis on safe delivery of products, including pharmaceuticals has increasingly come to the fore. One company, Foresolutions, a provider of tracking solutions to a variety of different sectors, leveraged IoT to consistently track the location and temperature of vital medical supplies in real-time, as they are transported throughout Europe.

IoT connected shipping pallets

Connected shipping pallets empower businesses to maintain oversight of inventory, prevent loss, and obtain new data from segments of the supply chain that were previously invisible. These robust benefits from IoT are poised to significantly reduce supply chain costs and enable more sustainable practices in supply chain logistics.

Bridging the data gap to prevent loss and theft

Cargo loss and shipping delays are two of the biggest challenges facing supply chain operators as a result of inaccurate location data, a lack of real-time updates, and large gaps in supply chain information.

Making pallets sustainable through IoT

The value of a shipping pallet is related to how many times it can be used. According to the US firm, Associated Pallets, the average wooden pallet has a life cycle of about three years and requires numerous repairs over the course of its life. While it is relatively inexpensive to manufacture wooden shipping pallets, their short lifespans decrease their overall value and raise environmental impact concerns. As a result, some advocates are pushing for more durable pallets made of composite materials, but higher upfront production costs and the risk of pallet loss has prevented widespread adoption of more sustainable shipping pallets.

With the advent of IoT, however, sustainable pallets are more feasible. Since connected pallets are easier to track and recover, they can use more durable materials that weigh less and have lower profiles than traditional wooden pallets. These benefits allow companies to reduce fuel consumption, decrease wood waste, and reduce the average number of pallets that are lost or broken each trip.

Connected shipping pallets empower businesses to maintain oversight of inventory, prevent loss, and obtain new data from segments of the supply chain that were previously invisible. These robust benefits from IoT are poised to significantly reduce supply chain costs and enable more sustainable practices in supply chain logistics.

IoT connected shipping pallets deliver a vast range of benefits to logistics providers and empower businesses to maintain oversight of inventory, prevent loss, and obtain new data from segments of the supply chain that were previously invisible. These robust benefits from IoT significantly reduce supply chain costs and enable more sustainable practices in supply chain logistics. At Aeris, we provide future-proven connectivity solutions for supply chain managers looking to take full advantage of IoT innovation.