By reducing damage during the transport of goods, your company saves on costs arising from increasing shortages, prices and expectations in the delivery process. Moreover, damage reduction contributes to improved customer satisfaction. Delivering goods in their intended condition – free of damage – improves your reputation and reduces the need for costly returns or replacements. In this blog, we name seven smart technologies that not only reduce shipping damage, but also identify new bottlenecks in the delivery process.
Internet of Things
The IoT consists of hardware devices that can communicate with each other using the internet and sensors. As IoT ensures a more efficient delivery process, it reduces the risk of damage during transport. An example of an IoT application in transport is RFID chips or GPS trackers for freight containers. Sensors analyze transport conditions and alert the supplier if they change. This eliminates unforeseen costs and ensures that deliveries arrive correctly. Once IoT has collected enough data from the logistics process over time, routes can be optimized, factory functions streamlined and new opportunities uncovered.
Shock absorbing materials
Shock absorbing materials such as foam inserts and air cushions play a vital role in minimizing transport damage and improving supply chain efficiency. Applying these materials in packaging and handling processes significantly reduces the impact of shock and impact during handling and transport. As a result, goods arrive at their destination in optimal condition.
Active and Intelligent Packaging
Active and intelligent packaging also reduces transport damage and improves supply chain efficiency. For instance, active packaging components such as humidity and temperature sensors, oxygen absorbers and antimicrobial agents, actively work on product quality. By proactively responding to changes in the environment, active packaging protects against potential damage until products reach their destination. Intelligent packaging, on the other hand, does not actively affect the quality of the product, but measures the quality and function of the active components. Examples include indicators for temperature, time and freshness or discoloring ink in the barcode. This lets the recipient know that the product can no longer be sold.
Data Analysis and Predictive Modelling
Data Analysis and Predictive Modelling play a crucial role in reducing shipping damage. Data-driven insights and advanced algorithms lead to informed decisions on the potential risks, so that these risks are proactively addressed and overall operations are improved. By analyzing historical shipping data, environmental conditions and handling processes, you can identify patterns that contribute to transport damage. This allows you to understand the root causes of transport damage and apply targeted improvements in packaging design, handling, protocols and transport routes. Predictive Modelling goes one step further by exploiting historical data to predict potential problems. By analyzing variables such as weather conditions, route complexity and packaging fragility, Predictive Modelling can predict the likelihood of damage during transport.
Robots and logistics automation
Robots are the future. And that applies to the supply chain, too. Robots can perform repetitive tasks with greater speed and precision, eliminating logistic error sensitivities. These systems are designed to handle packages accurately and safely, minimizing the risk of unintentional falls, collisions or mishandling. As a result, automated systems reduce the risk of damage caused by human actions.
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Real-time tracking and monitoring
Real-time tracking and monitoring allow suppliers to track the environment, temperature, humidity and other critical parameters that affect the quality of perishable goods. When deviations occur from acceptable levels, an immediate warning is issued so that staff can intervene in time to restore optimal conditions. A big advantage is that the data are also monitored remotely. Data collected from real-time tracking and monitoring can then be used again for adjustments in routing, handling and packaging. Real-time tracking and monitoring therefore also often go hand in hand with Data analytics and Predictive Modelling, providing tight supply chain planning.
Advanced packaging design and testing
Another technology regularly used in logistics is the optimization of product packaging. For example, Computer Aided Design (CAD) and Finite Element Analysis (FEA) software can reveal a lot of problems in packaging design. FEA software analyzes how packaging materials and designs respond to different stresses, forces and environmental factors. Design parameters such as dimensions, materials and structure of the packaging design are entered into the system. But also, the input of accurate material properties such as elasticity, stiffness, yield strength and deformation characteristics show how packaging materials behave under different transport conditions. The results are visualized using a simulation of the packaging in various conditions. Engineers use this information to assess whether the packaging design meets the required performance criteria.
Get started with smart technologies!
There is a reason why smart technologies are seen as the future. Smart technologies ensure flexible production processes, minimize damage or waste, uncover new opportunities and reduce operational and management tasks. Wondering which technologies these are? Download our new eBook: 7 Technologies That Reduce the Risk of Shipping Damage.