The latest transformations in productive processes, the spread of Big Data, the intensification of digitalisation processes, the birth of IoT paradigm have brought the world of logistics to a leading role at a global level. The digital is significantly involved in AgriFood supply-chain logistics, increasing revenues and making processes more efficient through a sharp reduction of time and cost linked to processes of data gathering, management and transmission, with the possibility to transfer value across the supply-chain.
Today, the major issues affecting supply-chain actors concern the treatment that logistics gives to the product. From one side, the client finds grey spots in the supply-chain, in which there is no knowledge about what is happening to the product, that can be subjected to thefts, deterioration or destruction; from the other side, the client is never 100% sure that the product will be kept intact across the whole supply-chain, that it will not exceed critical preservation thresholds, that it will be fully traceable or will not be subjected to counterfeiting. Moreover, not being constantly aware of the shipment’s status and its environmental conditions in each of its logistical junction increases the probability of both shelf-life reduction and subsequent recall campaigns, canceling the chance of predicting and solving eventual problems, and potentially generating food safety issues. Delays and poor handling coordination might happen, and trying to improve one’s own supply-chain gets harder due to the lack of definite data about the operations.
Many companies are discovering ways to use data as market differentiator: an advanced data management can improve previsions, warehouse planning, quality of service, and can cut transportation costs. The most common benefits to be gained from Big Data are: performance-time reduction, increase of consumer satisfaction and contribution margin, drops in product costs and time-to-market. Furthermore, the implementation of IoT as strategic technology for logistics can contribute to the growth of the efficiency of company decisions, since logistic units are constantly monitored and the data are collected in databases that constitute a precious information source, generating data driven decisions through the support of predictive and prescriptive analytics.
In order not to succumb to higher costs in shipment management, today it appears to be necessary to be equipped with tools able to spot critical points and correct intervention-times, that can monitor the whole supply-chain and provide useful information for swift company decisions.