NZ glassmaker taps IoT to track delivery trolleys

Architectural Glass Products has installed tracking devices on delivery trolleys to track its products and delivery trolleys in real time

New Zealand’s Architectural Glass Products (AGP) is tapping internet of things (IoT) technology to track its products and delivery trolleys in real time and minimise asset losses.

The glass manufacturer has fitted tracking devices on more than 1,750 purpose-built delivery trolleys, which communicate over a Sigfox-based low-power wide-area network operated by Thinxtra.

AGP spokesperson Gene Sanford said that the IoT deployment has proved central to the company’s ability to deliver on its four-day order-to-delivery service.

“Rather than resorting to the time-consuming task of counting assets on a map with a basic GPS solution, we have a dashboard and data that inform us which customer has the trolleys and how long they have had them, enabling us to quickly take action to maintain our high service levels,” Sanford said.

“Our customers’ cash flow can be improved significantly knowing their supply will be delivered on time; getting our assets back quickly to fulfil the next set of orders helps mitigate any knock-on effect that might impact them,” he added.

The IoT devices are supplied by Pollin8, a local technology service provider. The devices are fixed to every AGP delivery trolley and record location data at all times, including at places where GPS signals are unavailable.

Pollin8 CEO Nick Pickering said that while GPS-based tracking solutions have been available for powered vehicles for decades, IoT technology makes it possible to track non-powered assets at scale, using devices with long battery life.

“That means we can provide AGP with not only around-the-clock tracking, but tailor the solution to its unique business requirements now and as its business expands in the future,” he added.

AGP claimed that the IoT deployment from Pollin8 and Thinxtra was “extremely cost-effective”, making it suited to its plans for continued expansion. The IoT devices connect to Thinxtra’s network easily without the need to build or maintain any communications infrastructure.

Thinxtra CEO Nicholas Lambrou noted that AGP has built a “highly sophisticated operation underscored by incredible efficiency, which has catapulted the company to the pinnacle of glass supply in New Zealand”.

“By bringing IoT into the mix from a very early stage, AGP gained granular visibility over the assets responsible for safely transporting its glass products to a fast-growing network of customers, avoiding unnecessary losses, and maintaining its stringent customer service level agreements.”

Besides AGP, which runs a four-hectare factory in Hautapu on Te Ika-a-Māui on North Island, New Zealand community housing provider CORT is also harnessing IoT to improve the indoor air quality and ventilation of its premises.

Working with local technology company Tether, it is deploying sensors and analytics software, enabling it to monitor temperature, humidity, carbon dioxide levels, light and noise, among other environmental conditions. The sensors are also connected to Thinxtra’s Sigfox network.

Read more about IoT in Australia and New Zealand

Read more on Internet of Things (IoT)

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