Product Location and Real-Time Product Supply Chain – The New Technology That Is Changing The World

23 Aug, 2022
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According to UNESCO, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is in full swing. And, it is being powered by emerging technologies such as AI and blockchain, which combine big data and automation to streamline the entire global product supply chain. But as the global distribution network continues to expand and evolve, new threats surface, including the increased risk of adulteration and counterfeit products, and the limited real-time visibility into the chain of events.  Luckily, emerging solutions powered by AI, blockchain, and location-based technologies are creating a more transparent international distribution system, limiting the risks for consumers and manufacturers alike. Learn more about Authena L1VE™ and the benefits of end-to-end, real-time tracking solutions in the guide below.

What Is Location-Based Technology?

Location-based technology, or location-based services, is an umbrella term that refers to all of those technologies that depend on real-time location tracking. In turn, real-time product location tracking is performed through tools like geolocators, communication technologies, and geospatial trackers.

These tools can pinpoint a product’s physical and geographical location, and even deliver information about a product’s temperature and status.

In the realm of supply chain management, location-based technology is instrumental to track each unit in real-time, from the manufacturer to the consumer.

Real-Time Product Tracking and Chain of Events

As the supply chain continues to expand, it has become increasingly challenging for manufacturers to track products through each step of the journey from the supplier to the consumer – or the chain of events.

And, it is only through real-time tracking that manufacturers can efficiently trace and monitor materials, supplies, and units. Thanks to new smart packaging technologies, each item can be turned into a tracker on its own, which allows the real-time monitoring of each unit on an international scale.

Blockchain for Transparency in Supply Chains

Emerging technologies, and blockchain, in particular, are radically transforming the management of supply chains around the world. Although blockchain is better known to be the technology underpinning Bitcoin, this digital ledger offers several unique properties that are instrumental in supply chain visibility and authenticity.

Indeed, when paired with other IoT technologies, blockchain can help manufacturers record transactions of each unit and product through the supply chain, in real-time and in an immutable way.

Since each transaction translates into a blockchain record that cannot be modified or tampered with, both manufacturers and end users can instantly verify the authenticity, location, and history of a product.

Artificial Intelligence in Logistics

AI is the key technology powering today’s industrial revolution, and it is the main tool that allows for unprecedented scalability, efficiency, and real-time insights into the production and distribution process.

That is why it isn’t surprising that Artificial Intelligence is deeply transforming the logistics industry – and, in more than one way! AI is enhancing warehousing processes, leveraging information to increase efficiency, and making the most of big data. What’s more, technologies that allow machines to interpret data and learn in a human-like way are also enabling the introduction of robots in the supply chain process, which can significantly streamline and render more secure each transaction.

Collaborative Robotics in Supply Chain Management

The supply chain is innovating at an unprecedented pace, and it is also thanks to the introduction of collaborative robotics – which are also known as cobots. Cobots play a vital role in assisting supply chain workers and managers while also automating the riskier or least efficient aspects of every supply chain.

In turn, the implementation of cobots can create a safer workplace for employees, reduce waste, and increase efficiency.

Third-Party Marketplace Services for CPG Brands

Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG), which also include broad categories of products such as Fast Moving Consumer Goods, are those products that require regular replacement due to their perishable nature or short lifespan. Some of the most common examples of CPG products include clothing, beauty products, food, and household products.

Large third-party marketplace services – such as Amazon, Etsy, Asos, eBay, and Alibaba – have played an essential role in the development of CPG brands and how their products are delivered. However, these supply chain leaders often utilize a large global distribution system that leaves plenty of opportunities for bad actors to carry out their diversion and manipulation attempts.

Using emerging technologies such as blockchain, both supply chain managers and the product’s creators can track their items in real-time, ensuring that they travel through pre-established distribution channels as expected.

What Are Physical Goods?

Physical goods is a broad term that refers to all of those material products that are created to satisfy a customer’s need or want, can be touched, and can be purchased.

What Are Examples of Physical Products?

The examples of physical goods are nearly endless since they are present in every aspect of a person’s life. However, physical goods can be subdivided into multiple categories, such as:

  • Durable goods – durable goods are the ones designed to last a long time and include products such as vehicles, furniture, some electronics, tools, home appliances, and jewelry.
  • Nondurable goods – also referred to as Fast Moving Consumer Goods, these products are designed to have a shorter lifespan and be replaced daily or weekly. Some examples of nondurable goods include food and beverages, as well as some beauty and personal hygiene products.

What Is a Digital and Physical Product?

While most products fall within a distinct category, they carry both virtual and physical elements. These hybrid products are both digital and physical, and they rely on certain technologies to better serve consumers (i.e.: smart home devices, etc.).

Does a Product Have To Be Physical?

While a great percentage of consumer goods are durable or nondurable physical products, products don’t have to be physical or tangible to fall within this category. Indeed, products refer to both items and services that are sold to fulfill a customer’s needs and wants, which means that virtual and intangible products such as experiences and software still fall within this category.

Partnering With a Product Authentication Company

Real-time tracking of products across the entire supply chain is becoming increasingly difficult. And, as the supply chain expands, manufacturers risk losing their current level of visibility and control. Real-time and geographical tracking can be a powerful tool to prevent tampering attempts and ensure that a product arrives to the right user untouched.

For this, end-to-end systems such as Authena L1VE™ allow you to track your products at a single unit level across your supply chain and in any country or rural area, so to gain unprecedented insights and enjoy greater supply chain visibility. This is built on two main components: autonomous, miniaturized, rechargeable trackers applied to single products, and an AI-enabled interactive manufacturers’ dashboard, to steer the entire supply chain, featuring embedded alerts and advanced analytics.

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