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BLE For Asset Tracking: Improving Supply Chain Efficiency

  • Mahesh Tiwari
  • Feb 28, 2024
  • RFID
BLE For Asset Tracking: Improving Supply Chain Efficiency

" BLE beacons in organizations can accurately track the location, status, and utilization of assets throughout the supply chain in real-time." 

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 facilitating easy demand and supply of assets and goods and timely delivery of consignments. 

Today’s supply chain operations face multifaceted challenges, including an ever-changing business landscape and changing consumer behavior, and under these circumstances, technology and innovation can only help out. Many businesses in the 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 technologies like RFID, BLE, etc., not only to increase in-store efficiency but to eliminate losses due to supply chain inefficiencies as well.
The BLE Beacon technology is gaining huge traction in asset tracking in supply chain and asset tracking applications as, according to a report by the Industry ARC, "the global Bluetooth low energy market is estimated to surpass the $16.7 billion mark by 2026, growing at an estimated CAGR of more than 19.68% during the forecast period of 2021 to 2026."

Let’s see how Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) can help in sorting supply chain bottlenecks and improve supply chain efficiency through its asset-tracking capabilities.

What is Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)?

If you already know about Bluetooth, understanding BLE is quite easy. 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 the Bluetooth protocol for the transmission of data and is used as a Bluetooth LE beacon. Although it provides less 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 the supply chain, let’s see how Bluetooth beacons work.

In warehouses and inventories, a Bluetooth beacon can provide great visibility as well as sort the inventory assets into various zones, with each BLE beacon or 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 smartphones for tracking purposes. Individuals can see the asset movement on their phones without needing to implement extensive infrastructure. 

What Are the Main Components of BLE Used for Asset Tracking?

If you’re thinking of implementing BLE beacon technology for asset tracking in your business, you need to create a supporting infrastructure that allows for seamless data collection, cloud data sharing and sharing the same to end users. The main BLE components in this regard are:

1. BLE beacons to capture and share data on assets

2. BLE gateways to facilitate data flow within the environment

3. BLE asset tracking software system/app and cloud servers to upload the data on cloud and share that to end users, on their smartphones and tablets.

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 supply chain efficiency.

1. Greater asset visibility with BLE

Asset visibility is one of the main problems in the 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 make 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. Improved security with BLE

Bluetooth tracking technology can improve security by tracking the location and movements of valuables. If an asset is transferred without authorization, an alarm can be sent, allowing prompt action to prevent theft or loss.

4. Scalability

Bluetooth tracking technology is highly scalable, with the ability to track a few or thousands of items. It also integrates readily with other technologies and systems, making it a versatile asset-tracking solution.

5. Effective Resource Allocation with BLE

BLE beacons in organizations can accurately monitor the location, status, and utilization of assets throughout the supply chain in real-time. It makes better decision-making regarding resource allocation, as managers have immediate visibility into asset availability and usage pattern. With BLE asset tracking, companies can identify underutilized assets, prevent losses due to misplaced items, and streamline inventory management processes.

To conclude, BLE has met the needs of individuals in the sector, so it is equipped with all important features. It is focused on serving and providing a viable solution for tracking and managing an organization's assets. It improves various aspects of asset tracking, including greater asset visibility, prioritizing inventory control, improved security, real-time asset tracking, scalability, and effective resource allocation with BLE.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on BLE Asset Tracking

Q1) What are the real working scenarios of BLE?

1. Sending reminders for maintenance in manufacturing units, smarthomes, etc.

2. Monitoring access control at high-profile facilities such as shopping malls, international airports, etc.

3. Tracking and monitoring valuable assets in a warehouse.

4. Remote patient monitoring with BLE wearables.

Q2) What are the benefits of BLE asset tracking?

1. Low cost, high ROI

2. Low power consumption

3. High Coverage Range

4. Fast Speed of Data Transfer

5. High Broadcast Capacity

Q3) Why is Bluetooth low-energy important?

Bluetooth Low Energy Beacons can operate for extended periods since they have a long battery life and offer great range, up to 100m, most suitable for indoor navigation.

Disclaimer: The information presented here is for general information purposes only and true to best of our understanding. Users are requested to use any information as per their own understanding and knowledge. Before using any of the information, please refer to our Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions.

  • Created on Mar 23, 2023

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