The electronics industry requires tight adherence to specific environmental parameters and regulations during shipping and handling. Each type of goods have very different requirements and regulations in terms of temperature, shock and vibration, humidity, and even exposure to light. Deviation from these environmental conditions can have disastrous consequences.
All transportation modes present environmental risks to shipments. Airports and airlines can be especially risky places for temperature-sensitive goods as they do not always have climate-controlled holding areas. With ocean freight, trucks, and rail, there is risk; heat and humidity during a long ocean voyage can provide the perfect environment for mold and mildew to take hold. These problems are especially problematic when shipments are in the hands of third-party logistics companies, which do not always have access to or report complete information about environmental conditions during the time the shipments are in their custody. It creates an environment where there is little accountability.
For electronics and other highly sensitive goods, a real-time, auditable record of proper handling and exceptions in shock and vibration is crucial to maintaining viable product. It also allows the shipper to hand off the delivery with proof and assurance that the shipment was transported and delivered in good condition. Long transit times, multiple modes, third parties and other factors can make it difficult to create an information trail that provides a chain of custody and control as well as the conditions kept during the entire journey from origin to destination.
The addition of smart sensors and devices to a shipment enables visibility into not only its whereabouts, but also the current conditions through continuous data logging. The market is growing quickly. The global connected logistics market was valued at $16.8 billion in 2016, and is projected to reach at $27.7 billion by 2023, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 7.60% from 2017 to 2023, according to a recent report from Allied Market Research. “North America was the highest revenue contributor in 2016, accounting for around 42% share,” the report said. “Asia-Pacific is projected to grow at the highest CAGR of 11.0% during the forecast period.”
A key benefit of always-on, real-time data about the shipment and its environment is that it shows the unbroken integrity of proper temperature and other conditions. These low-power tracking devices provide real-time visibility into each shipment regardless of location or carrier, allowing shippers and customers alike to monitor the location, condition, and predicted arrival time of important products and sensitive cargo. When this information is shared among shipping and logistics partners, shipments are faster, more efficient, and less costly—and most importantly, it is possible to guarantee that the environment has been properly controlled end-to-end throughout the shipping process.
How is your organization using sensors in its logistics efforts? Let us know in the comments section below.