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The Internet-of-Things is driving Supply Chain Execution Convergence

Rafael Granato
by Rafael Granato on Nov 25, 2014 9:18:00 PM

Historical perspective:

In the 1970s when I worked in the Export Credits Guarantee Department, shippers used paper based shipment notifications.  

In the 1980s we tolerated a 24-hour delay in getting a shipment notification or ASNs using EDI.

Today I still see organizations using paper documents, traditional spreadsheets or Google Docs for directing inbound arrivals. When shipments arrive, conversations over walkie-talkies at the gate arrange drop locations and door assignments. This approach misses the opportunity to capture valuable data about trailer visits.

Automation and Supply Chain Convengence:

Inside the yard, traditional approaches don’t capture actual dwell times, delays at the dock and metrics around missed appointments for pick-ups. 



A basic Yard Management Systems (YMS) captures performance metrics that create the foundation for improving operational efficiency. Automated real-time data captured using machine-to-machine communication provides the highest quality metrics, as they are not subject to human error.

An advanced yard management system provides real-time location tracking for trailer assets (RTLS). Integrating data from the Warehouse Management (WMS) and Transportation Management Systems (TMS) delivers the context needed from these traditionally disconnected systems, to create a broader Supply Chin Execution perspective. This connected Internet-of-Things (IoT) based approach is what progressive organizations need to stay competitive. 

Why bother:

The real value of using a connected supply chain based on IoT (machine-to-machine) communications, is to track shipments over the road, in the yard and within the four-walls, results in two primary benefits, in my view:

  • Firstly, having a real-time picture of where assets are, what state they are in and dock door or parking spot availability, is what enables dynamic dock door or parking spot assignments (without walkie-talkies).
  • The second, more significant output is the wealth of metrics that get collected. These metrics enable process improvements that result in outcomes that include, improving customer service times, reducing delays in the facility and gaining cost savings.

As predictability is in short supply outside the four-walls, so it pays to be really good at being reactive. Situational awareness is the key to being poised to deal with the endemic indeterminism inherent in over the road transportation.


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Rafael Granato
Written by Rafael Granato
Written by Author
Supply Chain Brief