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Mainfreight uses IoT to locate hazardous goods

Mainfreight uses IoT to locate hazardous goods

New service from Spark provides crucial real-time data of segregation bins used to transport hazardous goods

Mainfreight is now tracking valuable assets using Spark’s new Internet of Things (IoT) asset tracking service. 

Chemcouriers, a subsidiary of Mainfreight, is one of the first to use the service from Spark, as it monitors workflow and asset utilisation digitally. 

The service provides real-time data of their segregation bins used to transport hazardous goods. 

“We have over 400 segregation bins that each cost in excess of $4000 that would previously go missing or be misplaced,” says Kevin Drinkwater, CIO at Mainfreight. 

We are alerted in real-time when something is where it shouldn’t be or has been stationary for too long

Kevin Drinkwater, Mainfreight

“On top of that, we need to abide by the stringent policies we’ve put in place to ensure our people and the public are safe when we transport hazardous goods.” 

Before IoT, Drinkwater says locating these assets was a manual process. The team undertook stock takes around their depots, counting bins and sending reports back to the office. By the time this happened the data was already out of date.

“Now, we see GPS locations of bins mapped to one dashboard and are alerted in real-time when something is where it shouldn’t be or has been stationary for too long,” says Drinkwater.

“That’s important because we get imbalances on our network, a lot goes south from Auckland, so we need to know when to drag them back. 

“Receiving automated alerts means we have improved our logistics planning and our asset network can be rebalanced faster, resulting in more productive asset utilisation and reduced cost as fewer bins are required in circulation.” 

Spark says the IoT service was developed by one of its digital services tribe, using the agile way of working.

The end to end IoT service combines the company’s extensive IoT networks, a selection of cost-effective IoT devices, paired with digital monitoring dashboards and a support service provided by Spark’s day time help desk.

Michael Stribling, digital services lead at Spark, says asset tracking is consistently ranked as a top use case for IoT across consumer, business and industrial markets.

“Industry forecasts indicate the number of devices using tracking location will grow by 40 per cent in the next two years. However mainstream adoption has been slow due to high cost, the complexity of deployment, technology limitations and the small number of technology providers offering scaled IoT solutions.

“Our move into providing an end-to-end IoT asset tracking service means we’re providing businesses with key digital services that will allow them the best chance to innovate and succeed in a digital world."

Mainfreight’s supply chain is in better order thanks to IoT

Michael Stribling, Spark

Stribling says Mainfreight is a prime example of how a business can use data derived from an IoT solution to solve everyday problems and make smarter business decisions.

“Mainfreight’s supply chain is in better order thanks to IoT,” he says. 

“By keeping a closer eye on their segregation bins across all depots they know if they’re under-utilised and can choose to relocate them as well as ensuring they are where they should be at the right time.”

Credit: Dreamstime

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Tags agileanalyticsSupply ChaintransportationlogisticshazmatHealth and safetyIoTglobal ciomainfreightSpark New ZealandKevin DrinkwaterMichael Striblinghazardous goods

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