Technologies enabling efficient transport monitoring

Karri Rantasila, Eetu Pilli-Sihvola, Antti Permala, Johan Scholliers

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract in proceedingsScientific


    Purpose: Modern logistics systems are complex networks, consisting of several actors with a high degree of interactions and interdependencies between them. Managing this kind of complex system and interactions requires a capability of handling multi-dimensional information flows related to the physical flow of goods. This paper describes the main aspects of monitoring of goods in real time including drivers for tracking, different tracking levels, and technical issues. Design/methodology/approach: Relevant technologies are identified based on the review of previous research including journal articles and market research reports. Findings: Enhanced visibility over the supply chain enabled by real time monitoring technologies improves operational efficiency, for example by preventing out of stock situations, detecting possible deviations, increasing security, reducing inventories and safety lead-times, as well as by increasing delivery accuracy. The leading idea of monitoring is that the “highest” logistic unit is monitored. The most important identification techniques in freight transport are barcode and RFID. Barcode is currently the most widely used method for the identification of parcels, while RFID is still considered as an evolving technology. Satellite positioning using GPS is currently the most widely used positioning technology. Other available technologies are network-based positioning using cellular or wireless network information. Indoor positioning is utilized in closed areas where high accuracy is needed like terminals. Applications like asset tracking and inventory management have successfully employed indoor positioning, but major problems are caused by the signal strength and reflections. Hybrid solutions combine the data of two or more independent positioning technologies and can be utilized to extend the scope of monitoring to the whole supply chain in addition to improving accuracy. Also multi-functional devices like Container Security Devices (CSDs) have appeared on the market. These devices have for example the following functionalities: location (e.g. GPS), door sensor (open or shut), communication (RFID, GSM/GPRS, satellite) and power source (vehicle, battery, solar cells). Finally, new disposable electronic seals, which are based on passive UHF RFID technology, have been introduced. They allow using a much cheaper infrastructure compared to active electronic seals and provide improved interoperability with other UHF-based identification systems. Research limitations/implications (if applicable): This research discusses solely monitoring technologies that are applicable to transport and logistics processes. Practical implications (if applicable): Theoretical implications include facilitated understanding of existing monitoring technologies and how these can contribute to supply chain management theories. Social implications (if applicable): More efficient transport logistics systems contribute to the quality of living, not just from a service level point of view, but also by enabling more environmentally friendly logistics processes. Original/value: No comprehensive overview of monitoring technologies for freight transport was to be found. These technologies are usually researched as sole technologies, not by considering these to cover all the processes of supply chain. This allows one to understand how to combine different technologies and where these should be utilized.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationProceedings of the 5th ECITL 2012
    Publication statusPublished - 2012
    MoE publication typeNot Eligible
    Event5th European Conference on ICT and Logistics, ECITL '12 - Gothenburg, Sweden
    Duration: 7 Nov 20129 Nov 2012 (Conference agenda)


    Conference5th European Conference on ICT and Logistics, ECITL '12
    Abbreviated titleECITL '12
    Internet address


    • Monitoring technologies
    • Logistics
    • Transport
    • RFID
    • Satellite positioning


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