A streamlined supply chain forms the basis of a good logistics business. As it happens, a logistics business can only function when it has a robust network of supply chain operations aimed at felicitating easy demand and supply of assets and goods, and timely delivery of consignments.
Today’s supply chain operations face multifaceted challenges including ever changing business landscape and changing consumer behavior, and under these circumstances technology and innovation can only help out. Many businesses in supply chain itself are taking this opportunity to create a digital infrastructure, coupled with technologies that enable a greater degree of inventory visibility, asset tracking and digital records.
Retail giant Walmart which has around 10,586 stores worldwide, (in India, Walmart acquired a 77% stake in Indian e-commerce Flipkart in 2018) is using Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in tandem with various IoT techs like RFID, BLE etc., to not only increase in-store efficiency but to eliminate losses due to supply chain inefficiencies as well.
Let’s see how Bluetooth low energy (BLE) can help in sorting supply chain bottlenecks and improve the supply chain efficiency through its Asset tracking capabilities.
What is Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)?
If you know about Bluetooth already, understanding BLE is quite easy then. Bluetooth low energy evolved from the classic Bluetooth around 2010 and now has become a great AIDC (automatic identification and data capture) tool, capable of tracking assets with great accuracy and low energy consumption.
Bluetooth low energy uses Bluetooth protocol for transmission of data and is used as a Bluetooth LE beacon. Although it provides less amount of data transfer per second than Bluetooth classic, it offers great efficiency.
BLE Asset tracking in supply chain operations:
Now coming to how BLE can be used for asset tracking in supply chain, let’s see how Bluetooth beacons work.
A Bluetooth low energy beacon acts exactly as the name suggests, a beacon, transmitting signals like a lighthouse for anyone to see. But secure connection layers can be added to limit who can connect to the beacon varying on its use.
In warehouses and inventories, a Bluetooth beacon can provide great visibility as well as can sort the inventory assets into various zones, each ble beacon/ tag capturing data on asset movement from one area to another.
The reason why it’s so popular is the fact that it’s very cost effective and can use Bluetooth features in the smartphones for tracking purposes. Individuals can see the asset movement on their phone itself, without needing to implement extensive infrastructure.
Improving supply chain efficiency with BLE asset tracking:
Now that we know how BLE works and how it can track assets in a small warehouse or retail store, let’s see how it can improve the supply chain efficiency.
1. Greater asset visibility with BLE
Asset visibility is one of main problems in supply chain and logistics. Even in-store asset visibility is a problem for many retail businesses. BLE can be very efficient in providing a greater degree of visibility. A carefully and strategically implemented BLE beacon project in an inventory can keep track of all the assets and generate insights that can help you take data driven decisions.
2. Prioritizing inventory control with BLE
BLE can also be useful in inventory control as well. Assets can be put on higher priority and their movement based on their value and manufacturing and expiration dates, can be traced. Inventory clearance and stock replenishment can be carried out very effectively and easily and losses can be reduced.
3. Ble advertisement
BLE beacons can broadcast specific directions and guidelines regarding asset movement inside an inventory and person responsible can take necessary actions. It can keep track of all the incoming and outgoing consignments and broadcast useful information to host of people in charge.
- Last updated on Mar 24, 2023