Modern Track and Trace
Across industries, tracking can have a number of different meanings, depending on which context you’re using it. In retail, tracking refers to anything from scanning an SKU (stock keeping unit) number to collecting information from an RFID tag that monitors an item’s location as it makes its way through your warehouse.
Today’s chemical industries are becoming more and more competitive. With such an important role in the development of so many different products. It’s no surprise that the chemical industry is one that faces numerous industry-specific problems every day, especially when it comes to tracking and tracing their goods and raw materials. Leveraging modern technologies is one of the most efficient ways you can manage and solve these problems as you work towards increasing your revenue.
In order to stay competitive, there are two things that need to be achieved: maximize efficiency and boost productivity. One of the best ways to achieve these goals is through a streamlined process for tracking inventory. Especially when that inventory comprises dangerous chemicals.
The industry that represents one of today’s most efficient organizations also happens to be one of its oldest: manufacturing. Whether you work in food production or pharmaceuticals, computers have revolutionized how products get from creation to consumption. With each wave of technology, we come closer to being able to monitor shipments of important chemicals automatically—and accurately.
Using different technology, like RFID scanners, ensures that no product gets lost or misplaced along the way; but what are some other advantages?
Real-Time Inventory Control
If you’re just starting out, chances are good that one of your first decisions will revolve around whether you want to handle inventory yourself or partner with an outside vendor. It’s easy to understand why high-volume companies go crazy over warehouses full of automation systems. By implementing automated processes for tracking your stock levels throughout transit, it’s possible to avoid either scenario completely; it becomes easier to determine how much of something has been used over time (which can prevent stockpiling), and then adapt supply orders accordingly.
What happens if there’s an accident at a manufacturing plant? Or there’s a gas explosion that grows into a massive fire? It may seem far-fetched, but natural disasters happen every year. When such events occur, technology can help save lives by ensuring accurate information about hazardous materials at all times. Even if part of a company’s infrastructure falls under attack.
Minimizing Delivery Surcharges
These days, shipping goods across state lines isn’t enough of a hassle to dissuade many entrepreneurs from creating their own products on foreign soil. But large corporations still think twice before deciding where to place their next factory overseas—because so many different factors go into choosing where exactly that factory should be. As small businesses begin capitalizing on opportunities in new markets, they start making domestic outsourcing viable as well. Instead of choosing a location based solely on proximity to suppliers, they look for destinations that can give them an edge.
Increased Cost Savings
Few people enjoy spending money, especially when they don’t know if they’re getting value for their investment. Efficiently tracking inventory means being able to deliver accurate feedback about how long everything lasts in real-time, saving lots of headaches—and dollars—in the future.
High-priority items like transplant organs often get shipped on cargo jets or in armored vehicles. More mundane but equally sensitive products tend to travel on trains and trucks. Whatever mode of transportation you use, it’s up to you to make sure that your deliveries are tracked at every step—no matter how short or long that step is. Because even a single misrouted item can wreak havoc on your operations.
What Type of Data Can Be Tracked?
There are several different kinds of data that can be tracked within the chemical industry. From inventory levels to environmental data and statistics, there are many different kinds of information that a company can capture. Because there is such a wide range of options available, it’s helpful to narrow down exactly what you are trying to track before you make your purchase. When deciding on what kind of tracking solution works best for your business, consider some basic questions like What type of sensor will be used? How much maintenance is required? How long do sensors last? What type of software or cloud services comes along with each system? The answers to these questions should help you decide which option fits best.
Additionally, you’ll want to ask yourself how secure your chemicals or inventory might be at any given time; if security is a major concern, make sure you’re looking into systems that have added safety measures such as encryption or PIN numbers. This way, no one else can access your sensitive material without permission. Whether you need tracking solutions for heat-sensitive liquids or pressure-sensitive gasses, knowing what questions to ask beforehand makes it easier to find a solution that works well and protects your assets while doing so. Be aware of regulatory requirements: It’s not just about protecting your investment—it’s also important to know all of the regulations surrounding specific industries and commodities.
Technology Trends In the Chemical Industry
In an industry as varied and complex as chemical manufacturing, it’s hard to make a uniform statement about what technologies are revolutionizing how we do business. That said, there are two trends that are having a tremendous impact on most industries: big data and mobile tech. As technology becomes more ubiquitous, so too does its use across different companies and markets—and industrial goods manufacturers should expect more of these technological advancements down the road.
One of these innovations is the use of GPS trackers for shipping vessels or transportation equipment. Allowing you to track and monitor the movement of your inventory. There are also numerous benefits associated with using real-time location systems (RTLS), such as reducing fuel consumption, increasing worker productivity, and identifying bottlenecks in the workflow. The key is finding a GPS tracker that makes sense for your operation; whether you need trackers for retail sales, package delivery, or fleet vehicles, there’s one for every scenario out there. Best of all, these technologies have virtually eliminated human error when it comes to making sure things get where they need to go. If you haven’t adopted them yet, now might be a good time to see what they can do for your organization.
Fig 1. New Technologies in Chemical Industry
Tracking in the Chemical Industry
In fact, businesses today are increasingly dependent on being able to track any chemical or biological materials. As these substances become more complex, however, it becomes increasingly difficult to monitor them. This is where modern technologies are so important; they make material tracking easier than ever before. Today’s software solutions are designed to never miss an error or a discrepancy along with data points. Instead of trying to reconcile records manually after the fact, businesses instead rely on systems that generate automatic alerts in real-time as errors are detected.
Automatic Reconciliation is Key: Once alerted of an error or discrepancy, enterprises must be able to resolve it quickly. And seamlessly—if there is no way for automated reconciliation across multiple data points, monitoring may fall through the cracks.
If your business operates in the manufacturing industry, it’s important to know what’s happening at every stage of production. With tracking systems and RFID technology, it’s easy to track chemicals, raw materials, components, and finished products. But only if your RFID tagging devices are consistently deployed throughout your facilities.
Liquidmetal® Solutions is one such company that enables businesses to track different chemical components. Large chemical companies use Liquidmetal® Solutions tags because they can be read from meters away—no line-of-sight required. This feature makes them ideal for installation on containers where multiple product lines are stored. Strong adhesive on these tags holds fast without leaving residue, even through repeated washings.
In today’s data-driven world, tracking chemical products throughout their supply chain can be an exercise in frustration. Thanks to today’s evolving technology, that doesn’t have to be your experience any longer. Make sure your organization is up to date when it comes to technologies like GPS trackers. And radio frequency identification tags can keep you abreast of your material at all times. How are you tracking your goods?