Coles has digitalised its supply chain with IoT technology, deploying a “world first” solution from Loscam and Thinxtra to monitor the location of and measure shock for 4500 smart food bins moving poultry between farms and its distribution centre.
Last year, the retailer announced a major digital transformation strategy, which includes increasing the resilience of its critical supply chains, such as the protein cold chain, responsible for sourcing and stocking poultry. The goal was to reduce the number of food bins it loses, understand whether and where these assets are being damaged, improve pooling of equipment for transit, and ultimately increase stock turnaround.
Following a competitive tender, Coles partnered with Loscam, which was the only company to propose an innovative IoT solution. Coles subsequently deployed 4500 smart and foldable food bins manufactured by Loscam and fitted these with internet-connected devices. The devices communicate location data in real time using Thinxtra’s national, public 0G Network. This information is available to the retailer via LoscamOnline, a specialised tracking platform.
Coles says the combined IoT solution has enabled a “connected and transparent” supply chain with timely insights into geolocation, geofencing, shock impact events, temperature, and bin status, and allows the retailer to optimise transport routes and equipment pooling based on usage patterns.
“The smart food bins ensure that we can track the poultry from the moment they are loaded by our suppliers at farms, right through to the time they reach our distribution centre, reinforcing our food safety standards, while saving time and minimising waste,” says Coles General Manager National Meat Processing Larry Kavanagh.
“We partnered with Loscam to deploy a purpose-built device and portal system with Thinxtra connectivity, tailored to the specific needs of our protein cold chain department, giving us full visibility into our supply chain operations in real time. This is a crucial step to retain our customer-focused, quality-driven service that’s reflected in our supermarkets.”