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How Logmore cuts supply chain waste and monitors shipments through QR codes

Barely used in the West, QR codes can enhance shipment monitoring and reduce wastage in the supply chain

logmore qr codes
Image: Logmore

One of the trends expected to become part of the new normal is supply chain 4.0 or next-generation supply chain powered by industry 4.0. McKinsey describes it as “the application of the Internet of Things, the use of advanced robotics, and the application of advanced analytics of big data in supply chain management.”

Many companies are already moving towards supply chain 4.0, as doing so results in significant efficiency improvements. McKinsey estimates that it can reduce operational costs by up to 30 percent, decrease inventory levels by as much as 75 percent, and lower the number of lost sales by 75 percent.

The problem is that not many can afford to embrace fully digital and automated supply chains. Also, most organizations are not ready for the shift. However, this does not mean that there are no other ways to achieve better operational efficiency especially when it comes to shipping.

Enhanced monitoring with QR codes

Data-logging startup Logmore offers an excellent shipment tracking solution for companies that are unable to attain full-blown supply chain 4.0. This solution is not a total replacement or full-blown alternative, but more of a bridge that attempts to achieve the same efficiency benefits that come with the integration of industry 4.0 in supply chain management.

“Problems can occur at any point resulting in waste. We want to make a difference by providing a powerful, scalable means for companies to monitor the condition of their shipments at any point in their supply chain,” says Janne Juhala, Chief Executive Officer at Logmore.

QR codes are not a new form of technology, but it appears to be underused especially in countries like the US. Logmore is putting this nifty information tagging tech to good use as a handy and more accessible option compared to RFID. QR codes are arguably better because they do not require special hardware and software. All it takes to read and generate QR codes is a smartphone with decent specs.

logmore

Image: Logmore

“When we started researching this three years ago, we wondered how no one else had come up with using dynamic QR codes for data logging. Combined with optimal timing in regards to efficient, available technology, this became a real once in a lifetime opportunity,” Juhala adds.

How QR codes reduce waste

QR codes provide an excellent way to track shipment information because they contain more information than standard barcodes, NFC tags, and other similar technologies. With Logmore’s system, QR data loggers are used to enable end-to-end logistics monitoring

These data loggers come with sensors for tracking temperature, humidity, shocks, light exposure, and tilt. As products are moved, the data loggers continuously record information and generate QR codes that reflect the current state of the products they are assigned to. Logistics personnel then scan the dynamic QR codes using smartphones to collect data about the shipment. The information collected is uploaded to Logmore’s cloud servers to convenient access from anywhere.

logmore

Based on Logmore’s studies, this system is capable of decreasing data logging costs by up to 90 percent. The QR data loggers employed by Logmore are designed to work for more than 20,000 measurements. These can be reused several times for different shipments and varying purposes for as long as there is enough memory available.

This QR code-based system reduces waste by providing near-real-time information about shipments. If there are issues detected, customers learn about them promptly, providing enough time to implement the necessary remedies. Additionally, it makes it easy to determine the causes of problems encountered during the journey of the products being shipped. The information the data loggers generate also helps companies tweak their supply chain processes and protocols.

Target industries

All industries can benefit from data monitoring. However, some tend to require it more because the products they store or ship are predisposed to spoiling, damage, and quality issues. “Over $35 billion worth of goods are spoilt globally every year – the majority of it could be saved with more systematic cold chain monitoring,” according to data from Logmore.

In the food industry in the US alone, around 40 percent of food products go to waste. The losses happen in various points of the supply chain, from the farms and fishing boats to the packing houses, manufacturing facilities, transportation, and distribution networks. A significant portion of this waste can be avoided with better product monitoring.

Similar avoidable wastage problems occur in healthcare, chemical, electronics, machinery, construction, and many other industries. Multi-sensor data loggers that can provide relevant up-to-date information about the products being shipped and stored are indubitably useful in preventing wastage. The sensors may not tell QA departments the exact condition of products, but they provide vital data that approximate the state of products at the time they were scanned.

Certain pharmaceuticals and chemicals, for example, perish after getting exposed to high temperatures or harsh lighting. Electronic devices and machinery may incur damages after taking shocks or being in the wrong orientation for a long time. Construction materials such as cement may be damaged when exposed to high humidity levels. QA teams will have an idea of potential product issues after getting the data collected by Logmore’s data loggers.

Easy to implement shipment monitoring

The combination of various sensors and QR code generation in a small but durable data logging device results in a convenient and easy-to-deploy product data logging solution for various industries. It is not revolutionary, but it is undoubtedly ingenious and useful in keeping track of product conditions and facilitating tweaks that address supply chain management challenges. It takes advantage of QR codes that are extensively used and proven useful especially in Asia. What makes it even more compelling is that it does not require new hardware to implement.

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