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M2M Technology’s Impact on the Supply Chain

As noted in a previous post, machine-to-machine (M2M) technology can play an integral role in improving the supply chain.

Advantages range from the delivery of real-time information to a reduction in maintenance costs, improved security, efficiencies and productivity, and more effective monitoring of vehicles and driver behaviour. ABI Research forecasts that the number of service vehicles with some type of M2M telematics system will increase to around 25 million vehicles globally by the end of 2019, representing more than 30% penetration. And the GSMA predicts that there will be 250 million M2M connections this year.

There are plenty of companies that have already jumped on board with M2M to enhance the supply chain and are seeing positive results. Here are three specific examples of how M2M technology is helping Canadian organizations boost productivity and increase overall profitability:

Sure Track Courier
Drivers for this Southern Ontario-based courier company deliver packages across Canada and the U.S. However, the company didn’t have the right system in place to manage its fleet of vehicles.

After adopting a system based on machine-to-machine (M2M) technology, Sure Track can now monitor vehicle data and driver behavior, which has led to a significant reduction in fuel costs and toll charges. The company now saves 6-10% on fuel costs monthly by tracking vehicle idle time and reroutes vehicles around tolls, reducing toll charges by $2,000-$3,000/mo.

The Town of Richmond Hill
The Water Resources Section of the Environmental Services Division of this municipality within the Greater Toronto Area monitors water quality and levels of ponds and streams to ensure they meet environmental standards, and to prevent flooding. The team uses loggers (measurement devices) installed in stormwater facilities and rivers to accomplish this.

Previously, a consultant would visit each pond every month to manually download the data. With a new automated water monitoring system in place, the loggers now download data to a central server daily, and alerts are sent if levels get too high. The result has been a significant savings in time, and the elimination of unnecessary costs. Logging costs have dropped significantly from $8,000/mo. to $1,600/mo., and the division now also has the ability to monitor additional data that wasn’t possible through a personal visit, like correlating rain data with how quickly a pond fills up and drains.

CriticalControl
Providing data collection and management for the oil and gas, government, and health care industries in Canada, this company based in Calgary, Alberta, was manually sending employees to get information from well meters. After developing its own software for remotely monitoring the wells, the company needed a way to reliably and securely connect customers with the real-time data.

A secure end-to-end connectivity solution was set up to provide access to clients so they can measure and control things over a secure Web interface. As a result, efficiencies have been improved and costs have been reduced; it previously ran $500-$1,000 per day to send a person to gather data. The risk of human error has been eliminated, and CriticalControl can satisfy its clients’ security concerns through the use of a customized, private network.

The bottom line
Automated M2M processes aren’t just about getting real-time data access and monitoring, though these are major advantages. The benefits trickle down to everything from cost savings to improved efficiencies and the analysis of more accurate and detailed data.

Can you relate to any of the challenges the aforementioned companies faced before employing M2M systems? Tell us more in the comments section below.

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