Logistics in a rapidly developing modern world is a complex industry with multiple touch points and huge numbers. In fact, according to shipping giant Pitney Bowes, 131 million parcels were shipped across the world in 2020, and that’s predicted to double by 20261. With this competitive and dynamic backdrop, organizations throughout the supply chain are looking to innovation when they are streamlining logistic sites. Sites use cameras and sensors in particular to help the operators to visualize the supply chain processes. They can provide a central view of what’s going on.
The first point of business in any logistic operation is, literally, the site access. The barrier and access gates in a busy warehouse complex are a great place to start streamlining and managing an effective operation. So that’s where we’ll begin to talk about how Hikvision can help manage the supply chain.
There are a number of regulations governing supply chain security, for example TAPA (Transported Asset Protection Association), the largest security certificate worldwide in logistics.
Convenient, efficient entrance/exit control for industrial parks and fulfillment centers are crucial especially if there’s no security booth at the gate. In fact, a large number of medium-sized logistics companies have unmanned gates. Technologies like Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) can give pre-registered vehicles access automatically. Visitor vehicles can also conveniently log in at a security booth or remotely using a video intercom device.
Smart cameras can also be used to verify trucks and trailers, and even to identify those carrying dangerous goods by reading trailer markings. All of this data is stored centrally, making it easier to use. Managers use it to generate reports, investigate, and help make business decisions. Of course, they can also be crucial in tracking a goods too, if the needs arises.
Using technologies like this also has the valuable benefit of streamlining processes, saving time for gatekeepers and inspectors, and ultimately saving money.
Identifying vehicles by number plate
An ANPR camera can automatically scan a truck plate, which can be registered. If the system recognizes the number, it raises the entry barrier. The number plate can also be logged, meaning operators know when the vehicle has entered and when it leaves. The system also calculates length of stay, so operators can seek to maximize the efficiency of the complex.
All sorts of data can be linked to the plate, with metadata automatically transferred to the in-house system is it passes the gate. This includes KPI and report data on order-related truck movements and loading processes with detailed time stamps for each event.
Knowing which truck is where in the system can also reduce waiting times for carriers and pick-up customers. In fact, it helps the site to manage its daily throughput of vehicles. If a vehicle is expected and cleared it can be given automatic entry, and the time is noted against the daily plan. If this vehicle’s arrival is different to the plan, it can be flagged.
Trailers are key to the successful management of a logistic site. They, after all, carry the goods and come in various ‘formats’. It’s important for the site to know what that format is so they can assign the correct ramp space. For example, a truck with one unit has a different requirement to a truck with two units.
A trailer camera is specifically placed to view the identification marks of each trailer. The trailer number and associated metadata is sent to the management system, and provides useful information. For example, the camera can identify goods that require specific treatment, like refrigeration, or dangerous goods.
Aside from being useful for daily flow management purposes, it's handy if there’s a query about what goods have been loaded. In some cases there’s also an extra security function of a ‘seal.’ This is used to check goods have not been tampered with or the unit opened en route. The camera can also recognize the status of that seal.
Driver and visitor access
It’s not just vehicles that logistics operations need to process. Drivers and visitors will also need to be ‘cleared’ for entry. Devices like intercoms that can work with fingerprint or facial recognition are used to streamline individual access. A driver can be linked to a truck, and to a Transport Order, for example. This means that a person can get access to relevant areas automatically through the central management system.
Digital check-in processes can be streamlined for security regulations too, also using an access badge, and ID card. They also use driver transport orders for identification, depending on the site’s needs.
This can dramatically save time for the guard on the gate. It's particularly relevant if there's no guard station.
Some logistics sites require an extra level of security - for example, an airport. Fully automatic detection of the vehicle underbody means any suspicious devices can be picked up. A UVSS (Under Vehicle Scanning System) focuses on the underside of the trucks as they pass. It then sends an image to evaluation software that compares the underside with a picture of it ‘should’ look like. The image is also assigned in the system to the number plate.
This saves time for gate security at busy entrances, since they don't need to carry out manual ‘underbody scans’.
Security and efficient management go hand in hand for logistics operators. They need to be able to process an increasing number of goods quickly, and effectively. Streamlining logistic sites starts at the front gate, and smart technology is paving the way to a seamless operation. As the amount of goods moving around the globe increases, and supply chains become more complex, automation will be key. Site managers have even more to monitor, so an integrated system with live overview makes their day a little easier.
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