Intelligent packaging technology can improve the supply chain by providing operational visibility that may not otherwise exist and the data to make better and faster decisions.
By MMH Staff · October 24, 2019
You understand the power of combining technology and packaging. But now what?
Experts know product integrity cannot be ensured without at least a little supply chain technology. Especially in today’s e-commerce environment, in which consumers have increasingly higher demands, delivering products to the highest quality standards cannot be compromised. Fortunately, advanced technology and innovation have created ways to monitor reusable packaging through a range of tracking technologies, such as bar codes, radio-frequency identification (RFID), Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and GPS.
Adding technology to packaging changes it from simple nontechnical packaging into a tool that can provide measurable, actionable data. Once you have this data, you can easily track where the packaging came from or where it’s going.
One of the challenges companies face after choosing their technology is not having the resources to analyze or use the data to fully reap its benefits and increase efficiency in their supply chains.
The following three tips can serve as a guide for analyzing and using supply chain technology to achieve greater efficiency and transparency in the supply chain.
1. Use intelligent packaging to leave a product trail.
More and more supply chains are leveraging technology to collect data and insights that reveal pertinent details about their supply chains in real time. However, these technologies require packaging that can support it. As the technology becomes more attainable and more commonly used, reusable packaging manufacturers are finding ways to more reliably adhere tags to plastic packaging, such as pallets, totes and bulk bins, for improved asset tracking.
RFID, Barcodes and BLE are great tools to track packaging as it enters and exits a facility, while GPS allows users to track and gain visibility into shipments in transit, which can help identify its location and if and when the customer returned it. To effectively manage packaging, you must know where it is at any point in time. Smart technology can allow you to manage your packaging to make sure it’s where it needs to be at the time it’s needed.
2. Never skip the trial-and-error stage.
There are several challenges with implementing any type of technology into your reusable packaging program. Determining how to use technology based on what you’re trying to accomplish can be a challenge in and of itself. Organizations need to consider what technology is most appropriate; what is required from an infrastructure, software and training standpoint; and what is the return on investment.
Like any new initiative, trial and error is key, and the best way to address these issues is to start small and test different technologies in phases. If you start small and fail, your time and financial investment also are small. However, you’ll gain insights and key takeaways for future trials. Once you find a solution that works for your operation, consider what’s required to expand and scale the project for your organization.
3. Collect and leverage real-time decision-making data.
In today’s environment, data is extremely powerful, and technology is what provides that data. By tracking packaging throughout its lifetime, comprehensive data can be collected for real-time and future decision-making to optimize your supply chain.
Analyzing this data leads to well-rounded insights that are often more difficult to gather from expendable packaging. Organizations can determine whether more packaging is needed to run the business operation, if packaging is sitting too long in one location, or if it could be put back into circulation quicker. Organizations can establish the right amount of packaging at the places it’s needed and at the time it’s needed. This data provides greater visibility into a supply chain’s inner workings, allowing organizations to identify ways to increase efficiency, improve accuracy and ensure accountability.
RFID is becoming more popular for higher-turn items, as it offers customers more data points to identify areas for improvement within their supply chains. Some of the benefits garnered from integrating RFID-based information across the supply chain include improved visibility of assets and product, increased labor efficiency, and improved logistics and fulfillment.
Packaging is the single item closest to your product as it travels the supply chain. Combining technology with packaging gives you visibility, which is one of the biggest challenges to supply chain professionals today. Contacting and working with a third-party provider to create and implement an intelligent packaging strategy is an efficient way to address this challenge. Intelligent packaging technology can revolutionize your supply chain by providing visibility into your operation that may not otherwise exist and the data can help you make better and faster decisions. Intelligent packaging data removes any uncertainty about what’s happening outside of your organization’s four walls and ensures products are delivered to the highest-quality standards.
Source : https://www.logisticsmgmt.com/