An effective supply chain can make or break a company. Asset tracking systems allow businesses to track high-value inventory, equipment, or any other device or asset as it moves around over the course of its use or throughout the supply chain. Through gaining access to the location of items within the supply chain, and analyzing movement patterns, lull time, and more, companies can improve overall supply chain performance.
By granting organizations greater visibility over materials and equipment, asset tracking systems can lead to benefits throughout the supply chain - such as improved inventory control, loss and theft prevention, enhanced customer service, greater operational efficiency, new service offerings, and much more depending on the use case and methods applied.
How is IoT Asset Tracking Used Throughout the Supply Chain?
Asset Tracking in Manufacturing
Hybrid positioning technology enables raw materials and inventory to be tracked throughout a global supply chain. Enterprises can use this information to prevent loss or theft, identify potential interruptions, and even streamline operations thanks to greater visibility into throughput. Real-time positioning capabilities can enable a wide range of potential system features, such as immediate alerts if materials are brought into an off-limits area, and integration with other industrial IoT applications to increase automation of processes.
Fleet Tracking & Management
GPS tracking and fleet management solutions allow enterprises to monitor the safety and status of fleets, drivers, and cargo as individual vehicles move across borders and throughout coverage areas. Companies can access information about product movement, warehouse entrance, and overall transportation.
Through the use of an IoT asset tracking solution, businesses can see where their trucks are going, visualize where there may be overlap of similar truck routes, and find opportunities for optimization, combined routes, and more.
What Location Technology is Best for Asset Tracking and Supply Chain Management?
Since many people equate “GPS” with location, it’s important to point out that GPS technology can’t usually fulfill all location requirements on its own. GPS signals aren’t reliable indoors, and they’re incapable of delivering the smartphone-level global positioning accuracy that many consumers and use cases expect or require in dense urban areas.
Instead, GPS is just one of several different positioning technologies that can underpin IoT asset tracking software:
- Wi-Fi Asset Tracking, in the form of active RFID or real-time location system (RTLS) integrations, adds capabilities of Wi-Fi signals on top of scanning. These systems can perform real-time location monitoring for tracked devices within a confined area. Tracked devices can have low-energy Bluetooth connections or more robust processing power, depending on the connectivity and goals of the IoT deployment.
- Cellular Asset Tracking leverages cellular networks (the same kind used by phones) to keep devices connected and communicating with one another, sharing location and other information. Reliance on cellular connectivity for asset tracking requires all tracked devices to be equipped with an M2M SIM card, similar to a phone on a network, and they work best in areas with strong cellular coverage.
- GPS Asset Tracking transmits device location information via satellite signals (of which GPS is a subtype). GNSS signals reach most outdoor areas, but are less reliable indoors. GNSS/GPS asset trackers require a processor, battery, and either cellular or LPWAN network connectivity.
- Hybrid Asset Tracking blends two or more types of previous solutions.
In order to identify the ideal solution, organizations must first identify the level and footprint of real-time monitoring required against project budget, data transmission needs, and device battery life constraints.
Skyhook’s Precision Location Solution for Asset Tracking
Precision Location provides IoT asset tracking and global positioning services to nearly all types of connected devices. Through flexible integration offerings, our solutions allow organizations to track valuable assets globally from facilities to the field in the manner that makes most sense for them, providing real-time location intelligence, reducing operational costs and improving system efficiencies.