The Profound Impact of the Internet-of-Things on Supply Chains

Posted by Pradeep Bhanot

May 5, 2015 11:41:26 AM

Matt Yearling published a great article on the impact of the IoT on Supply Chains. Read it >>here 


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Internet of Things Will Deliver $1.9 Trillion Boost to Supply Chain & Logistics Operations

Posted by Pradeep Bhanot

Apr 16, 2015 5:24:00 PM

Today DHL and Cisco published a paper (linked here) indicating the Internet of Things will deliver $1.9 Trillion Boost to Supply Chain & Logistics Operations. The Trend Report estimates that there will be 50 billion devices connected to the Internet by 2020 compared to 15 billion today. The areas benefiting the most will be in warehousing, and freight transportation.

PINC’s pervasive IoT sensor network is already tracking millions of freight shipments every year, providing real-time asset locations that our Advanced YMS and Supply Chain Execution solutions turn into meaningful information.  


The paper discusses how the real value of IoT is just beginning to boost Supply Chain operations and the outlook is that it will make a very dramatic impact on the efficiency of tomorrow’s supply chains.  Visit to learn more about our IoT  platform.

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Supply Chain and Logistics Technology: YMS takes flight

Posted by Pradeep Bhanot

Apr 14, 2015 1:17:00 PM

Some interesting perspectives on the yard management market and trends in the April adition of Logistics Management . Nice to see PINC Air get some airtime and our customer UTSI get recognition of ther use of PINC's Advanced YMS. 

PINC Air will be on display at this week's RFID Journal Live event on San Diego. 


The event will feature 2 PINC Air Supply Chain Drone's on display, one in the PINC booth #642 and one in the Omni-ID booth. PINC Air will also be featured in the presentation by Rod Flores of Daimler Trucks North America. PINC's customer, RR Donnelly will be featuring their printed "Drone Ready" RFID Tag.  

It promises to be a great event. 

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PINC's Next Generation Yard Truck RFID Reader

Posted by Pradeep Bhanot

Apr 3, 2015 7:13:15 PM

Check out our new Power Management Unit mount, complete with our new Impinj Speedway Revolution RFID reader. 


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Using IoT for Visibility and Predictability

Posted by Pradeep Bhanot

Apr 2, 2015 6:43:42 PM

A recent article in Supply Chain 247 (Capitalizing on the IoT with Visibility and Intelligence) discussed how Internet of Things (IoT) momentum is reaching critical mass. This got me thinking about examples of how much we already use various sensors to improve trailer visits that are managed by modern yard management systems.  


To illustrate the point, take a use case of a truck and a loaded trailer arriving at a Distribution Center (DC). Since the load had left its source facility, the destination DC has been automatically tracking its progress. Fed via the truck’s telematics system, the Yard Management System (YMS) has been continuously optimizing its expected journey within the facility based on its predicted arrival. It’s goal – to accelerate ingress into the facility and to optimize the scheduling of unloading.  Instructions, and outlooks of what to expect on arrival at the facility, have been periodically messaged back to the driver’s smart device.

As the truck arrives at the facility, a read of the trailer’s RFID tag positively confirms that the load has arrived at the location, recording the precise time and day. Information linked to the load is automatically retrieved and displayed on the kiosk screen at the unmanned gate. As the truck pulls up to the unmanned gate, it is weighed and cameras capture a 360 degree image of the trailer. The driver confirms the details of his load at the kiosk screen with a single click, and is instructed where to drop his current load and pickup his new load.

Throughout the trailer’s visit to the DC, it is regularly scanned to confirm its location. Real-time information of the trailer journey and location is relayed to the carrier and other interested parties. At the end of its visit, the trailer leaves and begins the next leg of its journey, the DC remains aware of its existence and used the meaningful knowledge it captured to assist load planners looking for equipment and trim future potential dwell time. Meaningful information relating to the carrier and trailer visit have been captured for future analysis.

This example demonstrates the use of multiple types of IoT sensors, which are by no means exhaustive, including the driver’s cell phone, truck telematics system, RFID tags, RFID readers, video processing, weight scales and smart kiosks. These sensors all played their part in minimizing human interaction and automating the entire visit. 

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RFID Boosts Productivity at Daimler Truck Factory

Posted by Pradeep Bhanot

Mar 3, 2015 4:24:03 PM

The Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) facility in Saltillo, Mexico, is employing an RFID system to know exactly where within its yard each trailer loaded with specific materials and components is located. By attaching passive UHF RFID tags to the trailers, the company can direct yard-truck drivers to the specific location where trailers need to be retrieved and then delivered, thereby saving time that the staff previously spent driving around the yard reading serial numbers, using the radio and manually writing down trailer ID numbers on paper. The system has enabled DTNA to achieve 99 percent trailer location accuracy within its yard, and has allowed yard workers to increase productivity. Learn how Daimler has been able to reduce its number of yard trucks, and how the system also provides real-time management reporting about trailer arrivals, trailer movement and worker productivity.

Visit RFID LIve in April 15-17th to see the presentation:


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Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) Market, 2014 - 2020

Posted by Pradeep Bhanot

Jan 12, 2015 5:40:55 PM

Research And Markets

PINC is profiled as a leading supplier of RTLS solutions in 2014 global research study - Real Time Location Systems (RTLS) Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast, 2014 - 2020


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Supply chain predictability for the great outdoors

Posted by Pradeep Bhanot

Jan 7, 2015 8:47:48 PM


I cannot be the only person who thinks it’s odd that manufacturers and retailers go to great lengths to optimize operations inside their facilities, yet have little control over the flow of goods immediately outside the walls of their manufacturing plants and distribution facilities.  

Yard management systems add a lot of value here by driving predictability, which is not a requirement many ask for. Receiving supervisors can predict arrivals by knowing what shipments are destined for their facility and its location on-route.   Outbound supervisors can predict equipment needs, so they can allocate trailer types based on the empties on-hand and inbound.

Trailers are used for storage as an extension to the warehouse. Having current knowledge about what manufacturing parts and supplies are stored in the yard and inbound to the facility is critical for optimizing safety stock levels to avoid disruptions to manufacturing. Vehicle manufactures use PINC sensors inside manufacturing plants to track final vehicle assembly and finishing exceptions to minimize the time it takes to locate vehicles when missing components arrive.

For retailers, PINC tracks dwell times of loaded trailers making it easy for distribution center managers to track approaching deadlines to ensuring they depart in time to meet customer appointments schedules.

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Supply Chain Leaders Embrace Data Driven Control Towers

Posted by Pradeep Bhanot

Jan 2, 2015 6:40:00 PM


Today, Bob Trebilcock published a fascinating article at Supply Chain 247 entitled What Does It Take To Remain A Supply Chain Leader? It features interviews with Intel, P&G, Unilever and Cisco. Key themes they shared included connecting their supply chains with instrumentation to feed information to centralized operations and control towers. This operational data enables them to respond faster to customer demand, while still gaining economies of scale. At PINC, we have been busy enabling operational data collection in yards and over the road to feed control towers for our customers. Whatever industry your supply chain operation supports, the need to collect real-time event information at low cost is a foundational need.

Automating data collection on the road and in the yard

Newer, lower cost sensors are finding their way into supply chains.  These include passive RFID tags for trailers and telematics that are built into vehicles to gather over-the-road shipment locations. Inventorying what trailers are in the yard and their location can be automated by RFID tagging them and instrumenting yard trucks to automatically read tags as they travel go about their usual business of moving trailers around. This approach has the benefit of continuously verifying where trailers are, but relies on visits to distant corners of the facility to ensure currency of all location data.  

To ensure full yard coverage, we are developing low cost drone based readers or digital assistants we call “PINC Air” to perform regular scheduled tours of the entire facility to confirm where assets are. You can click on to learn more about PINC Air.

Feeding Control Towers

Bob’s article talks to the importance of getting reliable logistical data from connected supply chains, as it forms the foundation of the these leading companies strategies for using big data and analytics to make decisions in real time and respond to changes demand  and conditions.

Leaders recognize the need to get a holistic, enterprise-wide view of their supply chains to drive further customer service improvements.

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Retailers maintained customer calm this holiday by boosting operational velocity

Posted by Pradeep Bhanot

Dec 26, 2014 2:22:00 PM


Retailers stepped up their game this year to avoid a repeat of the millions of missed deliveries they suffered last year. Some invested in more automation in the warehouse with robots and in the yard with more yard management systems (YMS), while others capped Christmas shipments to avoid being overwhelmed.

Fortunately, the 2014 holiday delivery schedule was not hit by a polar vortex as in the previous year. We made several recommendations for operational improvements to yard operators at retail distribution centers to improve order processing times and gain aggregate reductions in yard visit times for both trailers and drivers. Below I have listed some of the tactics they employed to reduce the latency in their supply chain execution:

  • Permanently RFID tagged trailers can be automatically checked-in and checked-out using fast-path lanes. Dedicated or private fleets really benefit here. 
  • Capturing shipment information from transportation and warehouse systems and providing it to the gate before trailers arrive accelerates check-in. With this foresight, guards simply enter the trailer number to get all the advance shipment information pre-populated.
  •  By having information about the product being carried available during check-in, and knowing which doors are unoccupied, lets the YMS instantly assign the appropriate dock door. This shipment information also lets the gate guard direct drivers who are picking up loads.   
  • Given the drivers service hours are now regulated, driver wait times can be reduced by bypassing visits to the shipping office. By assigning the drop location for the driver and eliminating the need for a visit the shipping office is vital.
  • Using an RTLS based yard management system eliminates the time taken to locate trailers to further drive down driver wait times.

Not all the above tactics need to be employed on day one. They can be eased in over time to make everyone’s jobs easier and improve the overall performance of the facility. We cannot control the whether, but we can accelerate execution to handle the next perfect storm of unexpected snow and peak demand.

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About this blog

As pioneers of Advanced Yard Management Systems using passive RFID to provide real time location services, we share our views on the evolution of Supply Chain Execution technologies and their impact on the business.

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