Analytics and Smart Food Production
Every year, thousands of tons of food spoil before reaching consumers. Temperature-sensitive goods are often damaged due to poor shipping and storage conditions. Inventory spoilage has a significant effect on a company’s bottom line and level of customer service.
The good news is that with smart inventory-management solutions, businesses can keep track of perishable inventory’s location and storage climate, reducing spoilage and related financial losses.
Food goods with a short shelf life necessitate continuous position tracking and storage-environment monitoring.
RFID and IIoT technologies will help companies gain greater insight into the location and condition of perishable inventory products.
RFID allows digital data encoded in RFID tags to be transmitted via radio waves to an RFID reader. RFID tags may be passive or active. Active tags have their own power source, allowing them to continuously transmit the radio signal, while passive tags need power from an RFID reader. Passive RFID tags are appropriate for monitoring perishable inventory because they are smaller, thinner, more versatile, and cost less. An RFID reader sends out radio waves to allow reading. These waves are relayed to the tag by the RFID antenna of a reader. The RFID tag receives power from the reader and transmits digital data through a radio signal. The reader performs a conversion.
We can transform data from sensors and/or RFID tags into useful insights about the location, status, and condition of perishable inventory items thanks to IoT efforts. We may take sensor readings or data from RFID readers and analyse it using analytics algorithms before visualising the results.
A warehouse professional, for example, can see a live map of perishable item locations and storage conditions.
IoT systems may be set to inform users of specific events in addition to monitoring and visualizing capabilities. An IoT device will send a warning to a warehouse worker’s mobile app if the temperature in the warehouse exceeds a critical level, enabling them to take action.
Warehouse staff may also use mobile apps to request information from an inventory-tracking system’s database or to monitor the system manually. An inventory specialist, for example, may ask for information about how many pieces in a specific SKU are less than 30 days away from expiration.
IoT systems may be set to work with some degree of automation in addition to manual control options. The system will automatically submit a replenishment order to a supplier if the volume of a specific SKU is insufficient to reach production goals, while also performing predictive tasks using advanced data-science techniques.
The machine-learning portion of IoT may construct a predictive model based on an analysis of a product’s shelf life, past shrinkage rates, current production volumes, and other context information.
Manufacturers need information about the positions, statuses, and storage conditions of individual inventory items to efficiently handle goods with limited shelf lives. This data can be provided by RFID and IIoT by allowing:
- Object – inventory, location and status monitoring
- Monitoring and controlling the inventory climate
Inventory environment monitoring and control
The true benefit of RFID and IIoT in perishable inventory management is that the technologies allow a change from knowing only the location and status of each perishable object to also knowing its transit and storage conditions.
Sensors measuring the parameters critical for the product’s lifetime (temperature, humidity, exposure to sunshine, etc.) are added to the inner side of containers, cars, or warehouse shelves to allow condition tracking. Sensor data is sent to the cloud to be stored and analysed.
If any parameter deviates from the recommended standard, an inventory-management solution generates a warning, alerting inventory managers to a violation of storage or transportation requirements. As a result, producers collect real-time data on the factors affecting the shelf life of perishable goods.
When RFID and IoT are used together, they produce major changes in perishable resource management. These are some of the key advantages:
- Reduced degradation rate—Product deterioration rates can be reduced by forecasting inventory levels and receiving warnings when a product’s shelf life is about to expire or warehouse requirements are breached. Avoiding product spoilage leads to reduced operating costs due to inventory expiration and increased customer loyalty.
- Optimized inventory management—With IoT-based inventory-management systems, Manufacturers know the status and position of each tagged product, allowing them to have the correct amount of inventory on hand and eliminate the need to buy multiple weeks’ worth of inventory ahead of time. Furthermore, knowing the precise position of a product, material, etc., eliminates search times, resulting in quicker and more efficient operations.
- Identifying bottlenecks in distribution and supply chain processes— Manufacturers may pinpoint the periods during the manufacturing phase where spoilage happens systematically using details about the position and condition of each perishable. Inventory specialists will investigate sensor logs and determine when and where storage or transportation requirements were broken.
Technological advancements make it possible to manage perishable inventory in ever more effective ways. Inventory experts in this digital age will avoid product expiration with reliable details about the location, position, and quality of perishables, reducing the risk of placing expired goods on the market and mitigating financial risks associated with product expiration.