Smart Shipping Label Enables Next-Gen Mobile-Asset-Tracking

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Smart Shipping Label Enables Next-Gen Mobile-Asset-Tracking

Mobile-Asset-Tracking: AT&T and Sony have teamed up to provide a solution to Bayer’s Crops Science Division consisting of an adhesive, disposable IoT label that transmits its identity and sensor data via a cellular network for a view into seeds and other goods moving through an international supply chain. The resulting product, called Smart Label, activates automatically when attached to a box, triggering tracking and monitoring capabilities.It then connects to AT&T’s secure LTE-M cellular network and sends data to the Smart Label cloud, powered by Sony’s cloud gateway, to enable decision-making and tracking while packages are in transit.

Tracking demands for e-commerce parcels and other parcels are continuing to increase. A recent SOTI Bricks to Clicks report found that last-mile delivery remains the most inefficient part of the entire e-commerce supply chain for 59% of U.S. transportation and logistics companies. Yet for the consumer, that piece remains a critical part of the online buying experience.

According to AT&T, the Smart Label has functionality in almost any business in which tracking and monitoring shipment location and condition are critical. This would include manufacturing, raw materials, consumer products, cars and trucks, logistics, electronics, pharmaceuticals, retail, health care, food and agriculture. The labels can help monitor temperatures, tampering and movement.

Working with Sony, we are providing full visibility of every item shipped via the end-to-end integrated IoT Smart Label solution,

said Robert Boyanovsky, vice president of mobility, IoT and 5G for AT&T.
Bayer Crop Science Division was looking for a way to track its agricultural seed products once they entered distribution channels. The Crop Science Division is one of three sectors within Bayer which provides pharmaceuticals and consumer healthcare products. Its crop science business supplies herbicides, as well as seeds for crops, such as corn, soybeans, tomatoes and other horticulture products.
As the company sells its products, they pass through a complex supply chain, first to a distributor and then to smaller distributors or customers. In some cases, products are sold on commission, meaning if a retailer fails to sell them, they can then be returned to Bayer for a refund. Bayer also provides reusable containers that transport goods, but these are not serialized and thus are difficult to track. What’s more, the containers may end up lost and need to be replaced, resulting in additional costs.
Due to the limited visibility, the company was challenged when it came to planning product sales in the future, since it couldn’t see what was selling.

If you have incorrect planning, that leads to underproduction,

said Christian Geerkens, Bayer’s global sourcing manager for herbicides.
Alternatively, it could also mean over-production if products are still on a store’s shelves without a retailer being aware of it due to missing data. The firm needed a technology-based solution, he says, one that would include cost-effective labels that used little power and, therefore, could reliably transmit data throughout the supply chain.

Author: Tim Cole
Image Credit: AT&T

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