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

Rafael Granato
by Rafael Granato on Nov 26, 2014 02:18:00 AM

Historical perspective:

IIn the 1970s, long before the advent of Internet-of-Things supply chain tools, 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 via IoT supply chain management.

Automation and Supply Chain Convergence:

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 Internet-of-Things supply chain 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 Chain Execution perspective. This connected IoT-based approach is what progressive organizations need to stay competitive.

Why bother:

Using automated Internet-of-Things supply chain (machine-to-machine) communications to track shipments over the road, in the yard, and within the four-walls, results in two primary benefits:

  • 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).
  • More significantly, the output of metrics when you use IoT supply chain management is a wealth of actionable information. 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, 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, and the data you gain from a Internet-of-Things supply chain system helps you spot and react to pain points faster.

PINC specializes in helping yards and warehouses improve and increase their management systems. For more information, contact us today.


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Rafael Granato

Written by Rafael Granato

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