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Inventory Management in Mining: How Visibility Hurts Bottom Line

A mining operation

Operating a mine is a costly, challenging and complex endeavor—especially when it comes to inventory management. Mines are often found in remote areas and require specialized equipment, large workforces and many purpose-built facilities near the site to support the operation.

Mastering Mining Operations

One of these facilities that often goes overlooked is the on or near-site warehouse that hold the spare parts and equipment needed to keep mines operational and productive. While seemingly an afterthought, the lack of visibility into warehouse inventories can drive costs and drag productivity in mining operations. Here are three examples of how:

Theft

Heavy equipment telematics

Mining equipment and materials make prime targets for thieves, as the remote locations often mean that law enforcement is nowhere to be seen. To compound the issue, due to improper inventory management, many mining operations don’t even realize there has been a theft—or what was even stolen—until well after the crime has occurred.

The average cost of thefts in the mining industry is massive. According to Mining.com, the industry has seen a 30% increase in fraud cases over the last four years, causing a median loss of $475,000—the largest out of all the industries that were surveyed. One of the biggest forms of fraud? Inventory theft. Recently, a thief in the U.S. stole $3 million worth of mining equipment, while organized crime in Chile recently stole $642,000 worth of copper cathodes from a mining operation.

Poor Inventory Management

An image of a mining operation with no sign of inventory

Not all cases of missing inventory are due to theft. Mistakes happen, especially when you need to transport thousands of parts, pieces of equipment, tools, and other necessary items from all over the world to remote mine locations. Key parts or equipment can get lost along the way—including being left at ports or warehouses due to human error. In the mining industry, these errors can be costly. “For example, misplacing a single set of tires for a mining dump truck could cost $300,000” says Diego Bozzano, General Manager of Do Better, a Chilean IoT solutions provider and one of ORBCOMM’s value-added resellers (VAR). By adding inventory management solutions that give 24/7 visibility of all your assets, these costs can be avoided.

Productivity Loss

Asset underutilization is a mine’s worst enemy, and a lack of inventory visibility contributes to it. On or near-site warehouses hold necessary spare parts and tools needed to fix broken machinery. The problem? Without comprehensive inventory management, these vital items take a long time to find. Large worker populations mean that often the workers searching for specific parts or tools have no information about the layout of warehouses or where specific pieces should be stored. Sometimes, these searches end up fruitless as key parts are out of stock, leading to even more delays as replacement parts must be ordered and shipped to the mine site. All of this leads to lost productivity, and ultimately, lost revenue. According to McKinsey, optimizing mine-to-market operations can generate a 10-15% increase in EBITDA for mining companies.

How ORBCOMM and Our Partners Help Inventory Management

An image explaining the Asset Watch platform

ORBCOMM developed AssetWatch to solve many of the issues plaguing mining companies today. Alongside our 400+ value added reseller (VAR) partners around the world, we provide the platform that powers solutions that reduce the labor needs and unexpected costs associated with asset identification and management, inventory audits, temporary loss, redundant purchasing, theft and schedule slips. Leveraging RFID technology, assets are tagged and brought into an integrated solution that gives mines total visibility of all of their assets. Our VAR partners work with their local mining customers to configure the systems and find the hardware solutions that work for each of their specific customers’ use cases.

Interested in building solutions with ORBCOMM? Reach out today to get the conversation started.

Posted in 4. Heavy Industry, 5. Natural Resources

Ushering in a New Era of Dry Container Shipping

Container shipping is changing, as new technologies are opening up global supply chains like never before. Soon, shipping lines will wonder how they operated without having complete end-to-end visibility of their assets. Through IoT technology, shipping lines will not only know the location of every asset in their arsenal, but they can also monitor specific parameters including temperature, humidity and even the opening or closing of container doors.

Free Webinar: The Smart Dry Container is Here

Recently, we hosted a webinar to dive deep into where the dry container shipping industry is today, and where it’s headed soon. Led by ORBCOMM’s VP of Business Development for Container and Port Solutions Al Tama, the webinar “The Smart Dry Container is Here” discusses the modern face of container shipping in its current state and what shipping lines can expect to receive by adopting dry container telematics within their fleet.

Al is an industry expert on this subject, with over two decades of experience in supplying shipping lines and other maritime stakeholders with vital solutions. He has seen first-hand the industry gaps in visibility, transparency and data interoperability, and also knows where the industry is heading with innovative technology at the helm.

A recording of the webinar is now available on demand. In it, you’ll learn about:

  • ORBCOMM’s pioneering role in the maritime industry
  • The current state of affairs for shipping lines
  • The biggest problems that the industry is facing
  • The evolution from reefer container monitoring to dry
  • The value of open data interoperability for compliance and benchmarking
  • Hapag-Lloyd and ORBCOMM’s leadership in dry container shipping telematics

Interested in watching? Click this link to discover the current state of affairs for the industry and how technology is leading the charge into the future.

Want to learn more about our maritime solutions? Check out our brochure on smart container telematics.

Posted in 2. Container Shipping Tagged with: , , , ,

Driver Retention: 3 Ways to Reboot your Strategy

Truck cruising down a winter road.

For many fleets, the biggest obstacle they’re facing isn’t rising diesel costs or dysfunctional supply chains but driver retention. In 2020, driver turnover rates for fleets earning more than $30m in annual revenue were a staggering 92%, with smaller carriers coming in at 72%.  

Drivers play a crucial role in the way we live and work; this is especially clear this week as we celebrate National Drivers Appreciation Day. While there isn’t a simple solution to drive retention, steps can be taken to make your fleet more attractive to talent.

Support Safety Initiatives 

Drivers who question their safety and well-being behind the wheel are likely in the market for new employment. A fleet owner’s most important job is to ensure that drivers are taken care of. Driver safety can take form in several ways, from proactive maintenance scheduling that ensures equipment is functioning properly, to driver coaching that recognizes and remedies unsafe driving behavior

Incentivize, Incentivize, Incentivize 

Everyone likes to know they’re doing a good job, and drivers are no exception. Not only can rewarding drivers for their performance strengthen owner-driver relationships, but it can also encourage drivers to adopt fleet initiatives involving customer reviews, safe miles driven, fuel economy, road safety, fleet inspections and more. Drivers seeing that the work they do is recognized can help keep them from looking for a new job. 

Visual performance indicators—such as a Driver of the Month program or a trophy—can help provide long-lasting recognition. Plus, it can gamify the process for drivers, leading to friendly competition within the fleet. 

Today’s Technology 

No fleet wants to be left in the dust when it comes to technology adoption. The opportunity to use the latest technology can go a long way in attracting talent. Deploying a modern in-cab device can make drivers’ lives easier by eliminating some of the manual tasks that make up a driver’s day. 

Tech can support other retention strategies as well by acting as a channel. Drivers can hear coaching in the cab, helping them recognize how they’re performing relative to their driver safety KPI. 

Digitalizing documentation such as driver vehicle inspection reports (DVIRs) is one of the fastest ways to a driver’s heart. Removing paper logs saves valuable time and simplifies dispatch, maintenance and other areas of the business.

Finding a technology provider that can help you boost driver retention can be a great help. Chief Express was searching for a solution with a strong driver interface, clear insights and a cross-communications channel for all business units. Eventually, they found their partner—ORBCOMM.  

“What drew my eye to the ORBCOMM solution is the convenience and simplicity, which helps driver retention,” said Victor van Kuilenburg, Chief Express Director of Safety and Human Resources.

ORBCOMM partnered with Chief Express to boost driver retention.

Through this partnership, Chief Express has simplified Hours of Service management, enhanced trailer tracking capabilities and, most importantly, provided their drivers with a solution built for them first. To learn more about how ORBCOMM technology can help fleets keep their drivers happy, send us a message today

Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , ,

Celebrating World Maritime Day with Sustainable Shipping

Today, on World Maritime Day, we’re reminded of the tremendous impact that shipping has on society. For 2022, the UN has chosen “new technologies for greener shipping” as its theme, highlighting the importance of sustainable shipping.  

With over 80% of goods carried by sea, it’s difficult to have a conversation about reducing carbon emissions without shipping. There’s more interest in decarbonization than ever before as a path to meeting new environmental regulations and limiting product spoilage. 

Did you know that 30% of all perishable goods are spoilt on the journey from farm to fork? Leading the sustainable shipping movement is telematics data which can decrease reefer spoilage, leading to less additional shipments and fuel required.

Efficiency for the Environment 

While the future of sustainable shipping is free of fossil fuels, data can help fleets waste less container fuel today. Remote fuel-level monitoring can paint an important picture about where shipping lines are losing fuel through container management inefficiency. Plus, operating hours, malfunctions and other health parameters to inform maintenance visits. By fixing these problems, shipping lines can run a cleaner, more streamlined fleet that protects profits and the planet.

Transparency at Sea 

A greener future for sustainable shipping is one with complete global visibility and transparency. Insights into shipping operations can’t be acted upon if they aren’t transmitted back to shore. Shipping lines relying on cellular connectivity at sea can experience black holes in network coverage.

Leveraging multiple connectivity options including AIS data and onboard vessel networks reassures that ship-to-shore communication will be uninterrupted. This, combined with least-cost networking, ensures that connectivity is constant without breaking the bank. 

What’s more, visibility also has a role to play onshore as well. After all, with location data, marine assets can be added into the rotation instead of sitting in port wasting fuel and space. All the data gathered can be acted upon, delivering intelligence into driving sustainability through maintenance, logistics, visibility and more. 

Data interoperability will be a strong partner in the future of green shipping. Industry data can be processed through machine learning to unlock new insights that can help improve safety.

Curious about how we are helping to champion green shipping and data interoperability in the shipping industry? Download our free brochure “Smart Container Shipping” today. 

Posted in 2. Container Shipping, 3. Maritime / AIS

How We’re Strengthening Our Smart Truck Solution

We’ve seen fleet needs evolving and niceties become necessities in the face of this new transportation market. It’s times like these when it’s important to continue developing smart truck technology that solve industry pain points and keep fleets winning.

Viewing smart truck data on the ORBCOMM platform
View

Earlier this year, we announced our new cargo camera sensor, which seamlessly fits within our nose-to-tail smart truck ecosystem. We integrated our tractor ID sensor for dry vans with refrigerated trailers–a market where incorrect pairings can be particularly painful. With the cargo camera sensor, fleets can save time by viewing trailer interiors for load progress and cargo damage. Adding door sensors allows the back office to be alerted when a trailer door is opened or closed without authorization. Future plans with this product include leveraging machine learning to provide insights involving turnaround time, utilization averages, load volume estimations and more. 

Examining spoilage from reefer container cargo

Spoilage remains a significant problem in the reefer industry. Trailers that are incorrectly paired can be brought hundreds of miles away from their destination. This wastes driving hours and fuel while also running the risk of increasing insurance claims and reducing customer satisfaction. By adding tractor-trailer pairing capabilities to our smart refrigerated transportation solution, we can ensure drivers pair with the correct trailers.

To further showcase our commitment to safety, we are working with Bendix on providing fleet safety data to our customers. Driving trends can be assessed and strategic training can be deployed from this to improve fleet safety, maintain compliance and more.

Have questions about our smart truck solution? Feel free to send us a message today.

Posted in 6. IoT Trends

Field Support Tool: Simplifying Installation Instructions

Screenshot image 1

Purchasing solutions to improve your fleet is only half the battle. Until they’re properly deployed, the only thing they’ll be collecting is dust. This can be difficult if they lack intuitive documentation and installation instructions, resulting in time, money and resources that can eat away at fleet margins.  

We developed our Field Support Tool for this very reason–to simplify the installation process so customers can start making data-driven decisions faster and easier through self-deployment. This mobile app removes some of the pain points that come with upgrading technology by including step-by-step instructions, minimizing the need for technical support when using installation instructions.

Plus, it keeps a catalogue of installation and maintenance events available to both users and our technical support team. If problems arise, we can quickly explore each step of the installation process for your specific solution to pinpoint and resolve any errors. 

Using the ORBCOMM Field Support Tool 

Once the Field Support Tool is installed, the app uses Bluetooth scanning to search for and wirelessly connect to nearby devices before walking users through a detailed list of steps for device installation, activation and maintenance. To help keep track of current progress, color-coded icons determine steps that are completed or still require attention. In addition, pre-set configuration setups can be saved for use on different devices to expedite the process for large-scale deployments. When devices are successfully synced, the Field Support Tool identifies the asset where the device is being deployed along with any available door, temperature and cargo sensors to pair with. 

How to verify ORBCOMM device installation 

We want to ensure that your solution is running as intended just as much as you do. That’s why our installation instructions require a photo of the installed device to be sent to our ORBCOMM support team along with a brief completion report which verifies proper installation and can act as a reference for support teams in case troubleshooting is required. In addition, an easy-to-follow user onboarding guide is readily available through the app to answer any questions that may arise during your installation. 

What products are supported by the Field Support Tool? 

Today, our Field Support Tool is available on both Android and iOS (Android 7 or higher and iOS 12 or higher), and supports the following ORBCOMM devices and accessories: 

Have feedback? We’d love to hear it 

We want to build the perfect deployment tool for our customers. If you have any feedback on ways to improve the Field Support Tool or if you’re still having difficulties with installation instructions, there is a user survey via the app that you can fill out to help us make our Field Support Tool even better. 

Posted in 6. IoT Trends

Building a Satellite Ocean Vessel Tracking Solution

Maritime theft remains one of the largest problems thwarting docks around the world. While it’s significantly less often than from trailers, marinas and docks accounted for 17% of the total marine thefts in 2020 according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. For many, the answer to dock theft lies in purchasing an ocean vessel tracking solution that can help boaters keep their vessels in sight at dock or out in deep water.  

For Florida-based Global Ocean Security Technologies (GOST), helping boaters keep their assets safe at dock and at sea has been their mission for nearly two decades. They’ve accomplished this with a suite of maritime safety solutions that offer far more than location tracking, including video surveillance, emergency support, component monitoring and more. 

The Missing Piece 

When it came to helping customers protect their high-value marine assets, GOST had to find a satellite provider that fit the bill. 

“We did a thorough market search to find a high-performance satellite tracking device to power our enhanced security and location-based services for maritime fleets,” said GOST Chief Technology Officer Brian Kane. “With ORBCOMM’s technology and our new, streamlined vessel tracking interface, customers have access to the most reliable and user-friendly ocean vessel tracking solution on the market.” 

Today, GOST’s satellite-powered vessel tracking solutions have been installed on thousands of marine vessels around the world, helping to keep them where they belong: safe and sound with their owners. Together, with GOST’s intuitive solution design and ORBCOMM’s global satellite connectivity, customers can finally stop worrying about keeping sight on their assets for fear of them being stolen.

To learn more about our work with GOST, you can download our free case study here. Have any questions about our satellite solutions or our integrations? Read more about the ORBCOMM solution that GOST used here

Posted in 3. Maritime / AIS Tagged with: , , ,

The Cape Town Agreement: A call for safer fishing

The clock is counting down to the ratification of International Maritime Organization’s (IMO) latest measure to improve safety standards and practices on more than 64,000 fishing vessels over 24 metres in length worldwide. In 2019, more than 50 IMO Member States committed to ratify the 2012 Cape Town Agreement (CTA) by 11 October 2022. It is a call to action that ORBCOMM can stand behind. The agreement will boost safety standards by facilitating better control of fishing vessel safety by flag and port states in coastal countries. The new standards will also contribute to the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and prevent marine plastic pollution from abandoned fishing nets and other equipment.

The CTA will bring minimum standards for construction and maintenance of vessels, as well as for safety equipment including navigation, communications and life-saving appliances. Through its extensive work with fishing vessel operators, ORBCOMM is playing its own role in driving up safety in one of the world’s most dangerous occupations.

Indonesia and Thailand are two countries where ORBCOMM’s satellite vessel tracking solutions are helping to improve safety and reduce IUU fishing. Both countries are vital to satisfying the world’s growing appetite for fish and seafood. But with millions of small vessels often operating out of view from shore—many literally under the radar—the scene is set for illegitimate activity.

Harmonizing global standards for larger vessels under the CTA will hopefully help reduce horrors that range from illegal fishing and overfishing to drug trafficking and slavery. Vessel tracking regulations are an important element, offering greater visibility over fleets, making crime harder to conceal and improving safety for ship owners.

Since 2008, the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries has required all vessels over 30 gross tonnes to be equipped with a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS), allowing the country’s maritime authority to track vessel movements. ORBCOMM serves the market through its value-added reseller, PT Megah Surya Persada (MSP), which uses ORBCOMM’s satellite terminals to create a range of VMS devices that are leased to the fishing community.

Thailand followed Indonesia’s example in 2015, driven primarily by the need to better regulate access to fishing grounds and clamp down on unauthorized fishing inside and outside of Thai waters. Satellite communications specialist ETNECA turned to ORBCOMM to create a VMS solution for the Thai fishing fleet that met local regulatory requirements.

ETNECA deployed ORBCOMM’s satellite terminals to provide full visibility of fishing operations and access to vessel data including position, course and speed as well as catch report, regardless of vessel location.

The 2012 Cape Town Agreement could play an important role in ensuring such regulations are globally harmonized for a significant part of the fishing fleet. Across the world, ORBCOMM and its partners stand ready to support safe and sustainable practices in this crucial link in the global food supply chain.

Posted in 3. Maritime / AIS Tagged with: , ,

Stay Connected in Transit with Cargo Cameras

Knowing the cargo and load status of a trailer gets difficult as soon as the trailer door closes, and the unit leaves the yard.  This can pose several problems for fleets. The product quality can be affected during the trip, which can result in load rejection or insurance claims—not to mention the customer potentially reconsidering the business relationship. Also, from an operational standpoint, dispatch is kept in the dark if they don’t know the available volume within each trailer. This can result in them routing trailers that are too full to trips that require more cargo space, or having half-empty trailers skip opportunities where they could have taken on more cargo. Here are a few ways that heightened visibility from cargo cameras can benefit a fleet. 

Enhancing Remote Trailer Visibility 

Cargo camera sensors are becoming a mainstay for many fleets as they enable dispatch to view inside any trailer within the pool quickly without anyone leaving their desk. Whether it’s finding missing cargo or simply checking to see if selected trailers are ready for the road, this simple functionality can be a valuable addition. Cargo camera sensors can also benefit trailer utilization by providing a clear picture of what the cargo volume is within each trailer. From this, dispatch can plan accordingly to improve trip routing and save fleets from lost revenue and potential damage to their cargo due to overpacked trailers. 

Creating Value for your Customers 

Having eyes on trailer status whenever you need it can also help fleets provide better service to the customers trusting them with their cargo. Being able to send updates on cargo status can reassure customers that their products are safe throughout the trip—especially if they have high-value goods that can be easily damaged.  Not only can dispatch capture manual photos at any time to show the contents of any particular trailer, but sensor-based and event-based triggers can help fleets automatically stay connected to the status of each trailer. For instance, if there’s a trailer door sensor installed, a photo can be taken and dispatch notified when a trailer door opens, which can be valuable for cargo recovery in the case of theft. 

Building Operational Intelligence to Do Business Better 

When fleets are looking for opportunities within their organization to improve efficiency, heightened visibility can shine a light on areas of weakness that can quickly be fixed to reduce costs, save time, improve customer service or prolong equipment life. By using cargo camera sensors, fleets can view how loads are being placed within each trailer. Improper loading and unloading can quickly turn into damaged goods and inefficient use of trailer space; both of which can impact your bottom line. 

Investing in a Nose-to-Tail Smart Truck Solution 

Using cargo cameras sensors can provide value the moment you install them into your trailer. However, combining this technology with other tools allows fleets to build an ecosystem that generates insightful data that can win business and improve productivity. To learn more about ORBCOMM’s comprehensive cargo camera solution, visit here

Posted in 6. IoT Trends

VAR Spotlight: PT Megah Surya Persada

Tackling transparency in fishing

Indonesia-based PT Megah Surya Persada (MSP) uses ORBCOMM’s satellite service to bring transparency and regulatory compliance to the local fishing industry through vessel tracking.

Indonesia is one of the largest fish producers in the world, making maritime fishing a vital part of the economy. Consequently, the long-term sustainability of this sector is at risk through overfishing by unauthorised vessels. Indonesia has pledged to make its fishing industry sustainable by 2025, as the overwhelming majority of fishing boats are drawing their catch from areas that are overfished and overcrowded.

Commercial fishing largely occurs ‘out of sight and over the horizon’, making this industry particularly vulnerable to criminal activities such as drug trafficking (where illicit activity is carried out under the guise of fishing trips), enforced labour and human trafficking. Furthermore, increasingly rough weather and sea conditions can pose a risk to the safety of these vessels and their crews.

Since 2008, the Indonesian Ministry of Marine Affairs and Fisheries, Kementerian Kelautan dan Perikanan (KKP), has required all vessels over 30 gross tonnes to be equipped with a vessel monitoring system (VMS), allowing the country’s maritime authority to perform vessel tracking.

Robust Vessel Tracking Solution

PT Megah Surya Persada (MSP) is a specialist company providing real-time marine vessel monitoring systems. It has been an active supplier to the Indonesian fishing sector since 2013 and an ORBCOMM value-added reseller since 2015. The company offers a portfolio of VMS devices and services that use ORBCOMM technology to perform vessel tracking and ensure compliance with local regulations for about 2,000 Indonesian fishing ships.

“Our vessel tracking products are very well known in Indonesia for being robust and boosting vessel safety,” says MSP Business Development Manager Hansen Awang, adding that in addition to fishing vessels, the company has seen demand for their product from tugs, barges and an increasing number of commercial vessels.

MSP uses ORBCOMM’s fully programmable satellite terminals to create a range of VMS devices that are leased to the fishing community, with just a single payment required at the start of each year. The equipment uses ORBCOMM’s two-way satellite service to track the location and movements of individual fishing vessels.

The devices, which must be activated by fishing vessels prior to departing the port as per KKP regulations, are hermetically sealed to prevent water ingress. They’re equipped with a backup battery to continue transmission despite power cuts, as well as an emergency button. This means that in the event of a crisis, the crew are able to alert the authorities, and be visible to nearby vessels that can provide search and rescue services.

There are also transparency benefits to be had by the operators themselves. “There are times when a vessel owner wants to know the condition of their fishing vessels and where these vessels are fishing at the moment. This information can be easily accessed from the KKP using its ‘Salmon’ application, so the owner can manage their fleet more efficiently,” Awang explains.

Data Insight

The ORBCOMM/MSP VMS is able to relay information about course and speed, as well as catch reports. Neither MSP nor ORBCOMM analyse the data collected by these devices. The information relayed by the ORBCOMM solution is only accessible to the operator of the vessel and the KKP.

The KKP has used this data to reduce overfishing and improve the environmental regeneration of fish stocks, as well as to mitigate harmful practises like human trafficking and drug smuggling through identification of vessels with suspicious operation patterns.

However, the versatility of the ORBCOMM terminal, which boasts advanced configurable apps and scripts, provides the potential for savvy users to integrate data gathering to optimise vessel operations, identify inefficiencies for improvement and to lower carbon emissions.

Posted in 6. IoT Trends Tagged with: , , ,

Choosing a Canada-Certified ELD Before Enforcement

Update: We have achieved certification across all of our ELD solutions—the BT 500, FM 5000 and Pro 400.

Time is ticking for Canadian and American cross-border fleets that have not transitioned to a certified ELD solution per the latest Canada ELD mandate. Although the enforcement deadline for Canadian ELD certification has been re-extended to January 2023, it’s important to choose your certified ELD now and prepare your fleet for the transition before enforcement kicks in. 

Turning your Canadian ELD into a Productivity Hub 

Choosing the right certified ELD for your fleet can provide far more value than just compliance. Our ELD solution can improve driver retention by empowering them with streamlined roadside inspections, Record of Duty Status (RODS) and trip status monitoring all built into an intuitive Android-based platform.  

ELD device

Part of a Comprehensive Solution 

The ORBCOMM ELD solution features a simple and intuitive interface that drivers can master in minutes along with third-party app integrations, signature capturing capabilities, driver performance scoring, workflow messaging and so much more. Plus, it makes staying compliant easier than ever by automating HOS calculations and advising on ways to maximize time utilization for increased productivity. 

For more information about the Canada ELD mandate, contact us at eld@orbcomm.com

Posted in 1. Transportation

Smart Containers Are Revolutionizing Reefers

When port delays occur, refrigerated containers—carrying temperature-sensitive cargo susceptible to spoilage—are hit the hardest. An unexpected influx of containers can result in fleets losing track of their assets’ locations or can interfere with cargo integrity, as some may not receive the power they require to maintain appropriate temperatures. To solve these problems, we’ve designed the CT 3500: a new addition to our suite of smart containers solutions that provides powerful capabilities that stretch far beyond simple container tracking. 

Reducing Product Spoilage 

Arriving at your destination with compromised cargo can mean ruined business relationships, load rejections, spoilage claims and more. However, it can be difficult to ensure proper temperature control on each asset —especially with the added complexity of external events such as port delays. With the CT 3500, carriers can receive alerts when container temperatures deviate from acceptable parameters using unique integrations with all major reefer container OEM models. Temperatures can be remotely adjusted on the fly so that loads can be preserved. 

Strengthening Customer Service 

Accurate ETAs are no longer a nicety in the Amazon era. With containers travelling by sea, sometimes stopping at multiple ports before arriving at their destination, it can be particularly nerve-wracking to guess when shipments will arrive. Accurate delivery estimates can be particularly useful for carriers with temperature-sensitive cargo, as they can help streamline pickup if the shipment is meant to be placed onto a chassis for the last leg. Driven by powerful cellular connectivity, the CT 3500 can deliver location data on demand so carriers can see where their containers are at any time and keep their customers informed. As a result, carriers can improve the customer journey, which can translate to winning more business. Plus, this intelligence can help optimize delivery schedules, speed up the distribution process at arrival and streamline handoffs, leading to a more efficient operation overall. The CT 3500 can also improve efficiency when vessels are in the yard as well by enabling remote data log downloads at any time regardless of reefer power status. This eliminates the need for someone to physically go into the yard, power each vessel on and download the data. 

Enhancing Guest Reefers with Telematics 

While the benefits of telematics data are well known, installing a permanent device on a guest reefer would be costly—even if you were allowed. As a result, any containers that aren’t in the carriers’ possession don’t have the functionality of the assets they own, leading to inconsistencies in container management. With a simplified temporary installation method, the CT 3500 can help empower guest reefers on single trips with the intelligent capabilities of smart containers. 

Improving Connectivity 

When you’re tracking assets on the sea, network coverage is an obstacle as there are no cell towers in range. While satellite connectivity can connect devices, it often requires line of sight which isn’t suitable for ships with stacked containers that require strong network penetration. Without reliable connectivity, devices won’t be able to transmit data, leaving carriers in the dark on where their containers are and what their status is.  This is why we created VesselConnect: a cloud-based solution that creates a local cellular network on the ship, allowing crews to leverage sensors and other devices to monitor temperature, humidity, location and more without having to perform manual checks, which can be dangerous in harsh weather. We built the CT 3500 to work seamlessly with VesselConnect and to be robust enough to penetrate the insulation of a refrigerated container. 

Succeed at Sea with ORBCOMM Smart Containers 

Want to learn more about our innovative CT 3500 – the newest addition to our robust smart container offering? Reach out to us today for a tailored quote

Posted in 6. IoT Trends

Improve Accident Reconstruction with Impact Detection Reports

This is article #1 of our ORBCOMM Platform Quick Tips Series where we highlight useful features within the ORBCOMM platform that customers can use to generate value from their data. 

Did you know that the average American trucking industry lawsuit was nearly $22.3 million in 2018? In fact, just last year, one trucking company faced a record-breaking $1 billion-dollar nuclear verdict due to an accident. While accidents can’t always be avoided, being able to piece together what happened can help prevent future crashes and provide evidence that you need to clear your name. 

On the ORBCOMM platform, you can view triggered impact detection events for each asset in your fleet, including which type of impact was detected, the asset type, the speed and the city it’s in. With our IC 500 camera solution, users can watch video evidence of the triggered event as it transpired to get a full picture of what had happened. This can help fleet managers visualize the event rather than relying on data points and map locations. You can also click multiple events and then view the map to see where each event took place. 

With impact detection reports, fleet managers can use data to answer the multitude of questions that arise when accidents occur, including what went wrong, who was at fault and whether it could have been prevented. Plus, by using the information collected, carriers can take proactive steps to address driver behavior to reduce the risk of crashes, improving driver safety and limiting equipment downtime due to accidents. 

Thanks for reading! To learn more about nuclear verdicts and how ORBCOMM solutions can help keep your fleet safe, check out our blog article here

Posted in 1. Transportation, 6. IoT Trends

4 Ways to Improve Fuel Economy with Fleet Technology

white and blue truck on road during daytime

Anything that takes up 30% of your fleet operating costs deserves serious attention. With fuel prices continuing to soar –especially amidst the current conflict in Ukraine – finding ways to improve fuel economy can provide significant savings for your fleet – especially if it’s done systematically across every vehicle in your arsenal. 

For many, technology is the solution. Through data collection and analysis, fleet managers can pinpoint areas in their operations where they can boost fuel economy, reducing costs and improving productivity. 

Here are 4 simple ways that fleets can cut fuel costs and improve their bottom line using innovative technology. 

Driver Performance 

The person behind the wheel can greatly impact the amount of fuel being used for each trip. If the majority of drivers tend to waste fuel based on their driving behavior, it can quickly eat away at profit margins. 

Live in-cab automated driver coaching can help ensure that poor driving behavior associated with higher fuel costs (excessive idling, harsh braking and driving without cruise control, to name a few) can be caught and fixed with voice feedback and suggestions. Having visibility into each vehicle as it’s in motion can help fleet managers ensure that assets are being used in a fuel-conscious way. 

Drivers can also be tracked by the fuel they use each trip regardless of the truck that they drive. This can help provide a clearer picture of which drivers are using the most fuel, as certain vehicle older models may be less efficient than others and can skew numbers. With this information, fleet managers can also track progress and history to determine if corrective actions are having an impact on overall fuel economy. 

Preventive Maintenance 

Vehicles that are regularly maintained and serviced can be far more fuel-efficient than those that are neglected. By leveraging advanced vehicle diagnostics, fleets can stay attuned with the component-by-component performance of their assets, ensuring vehicles are being taken to the shop when they require repairs before they need to be replaced. 

With the current market posing issues for fleets looking to purchase new vehicles, ensuring existing assets are optimized for performance can go a long way in increasing productivity, reducing roadside repairs and boosting fuel economy. 

Data-Driven Procurement 

aerial photography of freight truck lot

Acquiring new and used vehicles is a natural part of fleet management as business expands. By analyzing fuel data from every vehicle model and type within your fleet, you can benefit from an unbiased account of which models are most fuel efficient. Considering a little less than a third of operational expenses stem from fuel costs, this can wind up saving fleets a significant amount of money. 

Fuel Theft Protection 

Mitigating cargo theft and vehicle theft is often a focus for fleet managers; however, fuel is also a commodity worth monitoring. Fleet managers can compare the actual fuel that is burned to the amount that was purchased at the start and end of any given trip. Since it’s often employees who are the culprits for siphoning fuel from fleet vehicles, having visibility into the data can help catch theft that would otherwise go unnoticed. And with a fuel sensor, fleet managers can be immediately alerted to rapid fuel losses which could be triggered by active theft or a vehicle issue. 

Driving Fuel Efficiency with Data 

white Orcan fuel station

Technology continues to play a vital role in fleet management, unlocking new levels of productivity and output at a fraction of the resource cost. Through addressing inefficiencies from different angles using innovative technology, fleet managers can devise a comprehensive plan of attack that can help them drastically reduce unnecessary fuel usage, improving their profit margins and reducing their carbon footprint. 

To learn more about how to reduce fuel cost, check out our free ebook here. 

Posted in 1. Transportation

Fleets Can Win More Business with Customer Service

person holding black smartphone

It’s natural for fleets to tie generating more revenue with growing their trailer pool or expanding service to new regions. This can certainly push the needle, but it requires additional resources that may be unavailable due to external factors such as component shortages. 

One way to win new deals and keep current customers happy is by improving their experience with innovative technology. 

Accurate Delivery Estimations 

brown cardboard boxes on black plastic crate

Knowing the time and day that a parcel is arriving at your doorstep has been expected of delivery services for years. For carriers, providing this capability to customers should be no different. Not only can this help customers prepare their staff to unload the goods from the truck upon arrival, it can also provide a heads-up if a shipment is delayed, which they can pass along to prospects to improve their own customer service. 

Remote Cargo Visibility 

truck with six wheels

Viewing the inside of a trailer from the office can provide tremendous value when the containers are stationary but even more so when they’re on the move. With this capability, fleets can inform their customers that their product is well protected and loaded properly while also giving ad-hoc updates on temperature levels and other parameters.  

Intelligent Routing 

person holding red round medication pill

Cargo arriving earlier than anticipated is typically a sign of prompt action and good customer service. Using trailer tracking technology to determine the closest driver to each trip—rather than simply choosing one from the roster—can help ensure speedy delivery while also limiting unnecessary deadhead miles and other operational inefficiencies. 

Proactive Maintenance 

A fleet of trucks that are constantly in the shop for repairs can be a nightmare for customers, as they’ll be constantly second-guessing if their goods will arrive. With remote vehicle diagnostics, maintenance crews can always stay attuned with vehicle health, resulting in less delayed trips and less customer worry. Plus, having improved vehicle uptime can enable fleets to accept and execute on more trips week in and week out, strengthening productivity through maintenance optimization. 

Catering to your Customer Base 

In a market where there’s dozens of carriers bidding for new business, providing reassurance and reliability can go a long way in securing new deals and strengthening current relationships. To learn more about how fleets can build a stronger service for their customers with new technology, check out our smart truck brochure

Posted in 1. Transportation

A New Era of Satellite-Powered Maritime Communications

When it comes to satellite connectivity, two-way, real-time and reliable is the gold standard. In areas where there is little to no terrestrial coverage – for instance, in the middle of the ocean – there is no shortage of satellite IoT use cases. For 25 years, satellite IoT connectivity has defined ORBCOMM’s corporate heritage and remains a fundamental area of expertise for our organization. We were an early pioneer of two-way satellite data communications as well as the satellite detection of maritime vessel movements using Automatic Identification System (AIS) signals.  

With this history, it was a natural next step in our IoT connectivity evolution to enter into a Memorandum of Understanding with AAC Clyde Space AB and Saab to develop the next generation of global maritime communication services based on VDES (VHF Data Exchange System). We are proud to have launched the AOS (AAC Clyde Space, ORBCOMM, Saab) VDES Consortium in late 2021 with this esteemed group of leaders in the space and maritime technology industries.  

Unlike AIS, VDES features two-way communication and encryption capabilities while also having wider range and up to 32 times the bandwidth of AIS. Plus, VDES turns what used to be a mostly coastal system into a truly global service that can act as a platform for seafarers around the world. 

ORBCOMM’s mission has always been to help our customers make informed, data-driven decisions. Through the AOS VDES initiative, we will create a global maritime communication network that will facilitate information sharing from ship to shore anywhere in the globe – powered in part by ubiquitous satellite connectivity.  

And the use cases for VDES are many. With decarbonization on the horizon for the shipping industry, VDES will be key in reducing carbon emissions, as it can be integrated with e-navigation systems to improve fuel efficiency by up to 25%. Reducing carbon footprint through asset efficiency is an important cause for us and we are excited to see how our VDES-powered maritime communications systems can play a role in saving the planet.

For updates about the development of our VDES maritime communications platform, stay tuned to our blog and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Posted in 3. Maritime / AIS

5 Fleet Tech Hacks to Win More Business

Production, Facility, Logistic, Distribution Center

For fleet managers, accommodating new business can be difficult in the best of times – let alone today’s current climate of dragging trailer backorders and component shortages. Many have been forced to look inwards as they await their new assets, using technology to improve productivity, cut costs and boost operational intelligence so they can win more future business with the resources they have today.  

We’re going to look at five solutions that can help fleet managers drive revenue while they await new resources. 

  1. Trailer Telematics 
Truck, Freight, Cargo, Delivery, Container, 18 Wheeler

According to the US Postal Service Office of Inspector General, the Postal Service spent $7.1 million over a 14-month period on idle trailers in 2019. The inability to remotely locate a trailer at any given time can lead to operational oversights such as this, resulting in money wasted and productivity being hamstrung. Fleet managers can’t skip the line-up for new trailers; however, by using trailer telematics, they can ensure the assets they do have are on the road and not sitting in the yard collecting rust. 

From this, they can gather important insights that can enable them to reduce dwell times and improve turn times. Plus, they can use vehicle data to better understand fuel usage per customer and location to lower operational costs. 

  1. In-Cab Cameras 
Truck Driver, Eighteen, Startup, Business

While location data can be a powerful tool for fleet managers, having visibility via an in-cab camera can provide even more benefits. Not only can it reduce insurance premiums, but in-cab cameras can also protect fleets from having to close up shop due to nuclear verdicts – insurance claims that surpass $1m in damages – by providing video evidence and accident reconstruction that can help prove driver innocence.  

Plus, in-cab cameras can improve driver performance by providing coaching material in the form of live video. This enables fleet managers to have more control and visibility into cases of unsafe driving, enhances driving safety and ensures drivers are complying to regulations. Analyzing the camera data and monitoring driver behavior that is collected can also drive fuel economy and even help prevent accidents. 

  1. Remote Diagnostics 
The ORBCOMM remote diagnostics platform features vehicle performance and health parameters based on color severity.

Another key part of improving productivity while awaiting order backlogs is ensuring your assets stay in rotation for as long as possible. This is where our remote diagnostics integration with Noregon can help. Being able to troubleshoot vehicle issues before they arrive in the shop can enable repair crews to respond quicker to problems – and with more accuracy. Plus, color-coded severity levels for each vehicle in the shop can help inform triaging to ensure repairs are being conducted in an optimal order for maximum utilization.  

All of the data can be viewed in comprehensive dashboards and reports so maintenance leaders can view the component status of each asset on the fly and benefit from intelligent service recommendations to optimize longevity. 

  1. Fleet Automation and Digitization 

Streamlining operations through automation and digitization can minimize risk of human error while also helping to save time and money that can be better spent on winning more business. Often, this involves the transition to digital signatures and documentation for logging, driver vehicle inspection forms and other manual processes. Considering the current social distancing mandates, digitization is especially crucial as a means of enabling contactless interaction to keep drivers safe. 

Yard management is another area where automation plays a role in improving efficiency and reducing human error. With tractor ID sensors, dispatch can remotely verify tractor-trailer couplings to ensure cargo is going to the correct destination. Not only does this make drivers’ lives easier but it can also reduce deadhead miles incurred by incorrect trailers being driven out of the yard. 

  1. Cargo Visibility 
blue and black utility truck on gray concrete road during daytime

Winning new customers involves improving your productivity but it can also result from providing a better service. By deploying cargo camera sensors, fleets can gain remote visibility into their trailers at will. This improves operational awareness by showing if your trailers are full or empty, which can boost utilization and inform dispatch of which trailers can handle more load. Plus, having eyes within any given trailer can help in cargo recovery initiatives in the case of theft by providing visual evidence – especially with event-based triggers from door sensors. 

The market will eventually right itself but in the meantime, fleet managers can leverage technology to improve their output with the assets they have today. To learn more about ORBCOMM’s smart truck solutions, you can read our solutions brochure here

Posted in 6. IoT Trends

How Transportation Management Systems Simplify Fleet Management

If market size is any indication – projected to reach $11.4 USD by 2027 – transportation management systems (TMS) are becoming more of a necessity amongst fleet managers. In fact, almost 35% of businesses are using transportation management systems to monitor and control their network of assets. 

While technology has given fleet managers far more control over their mobile assets, scanning multiple dashboards spread out across different platforms – sometimes communicating using unique data protocols and often focusing on separate areas of the business – can be a lot to handle. With the growing complexity of the transportation industry and the current supply chain struggles, fleets are actively searching for answers in technology to help them continue to win business and thrive. 

The business of fleet management isn’t just dots on a map. The entire billing, payroll, fuel tax reporting, load planning and dispatch are some of the business requirements managed within a TMS – the backbone of any fleet operation. 

To continue providing strong data-driven products to our customers, we have integrated our smart truck and trailer solutions with Systems Support Inc (SSI).

“SSI is excited to integrate with ORBCOMM’s in-cab communication and ELD platform, along with their trailer tracking solution, said Kirby Eddie, President at SSI. “It’s important for us to provide our customers with solutions from the leading technology and regulatory partners in the industry.”   

The integration of our smart truck and trailer solutions with SSI’s PowerPRO transportation management system (TMS) allows fleet managers and dispatch to take advantage of the enhanced operational efficiencies that together, the two solutions provide.  Real-time location, geofencing status updates, current driver HOS data and driver-dispatch near-instant communications provide the ability to quickly respond and react to shifting situations in the job that could affect timing of the delivery.  

“We’re always looking for ways to make our customers’ lives easier and more profitable. Integrating with SSI demonstrates that we will continue offering integrated partnerships with world-class solutions for our customers,” said Eric Witty, VP Product Management at ORBCOMM. 

Through this integration, SSI users can access ORBCOMM compliance, location and workflow data directly in the PowerPRO platform including: 

  • Driver compliance (HOS) status 
  • Trailer/tractor position information including location and geofencing 
  • Sensor data such as temperature, door position, and tire pressure 
  • Workflow integration including load status, job status/instruction/updates and standard forms integration 
  • Instant communication between dispatch and drivers 

SSI has been an established name in the transportation software sphere for over 40 years, supporting a diverse fleet customer base throughout the United States. Known for managing complex transport business operations, SSI prides themselves on developing and nurturing personalized business relationships with their customers. 

ORBCOMM’s smart trailer and smart truck solutions provide fleets with the ability to optimize trailer utilization, reduce costs and leverage complete remote visibility into compliance information and documentation – all contributing to the timely delivery of freight and goods. 

To learn more, contact your account manager to set up a discussion with our Integration team. 

Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , ,

How Harrier Express is Keeping Cool with Cold Chain Telematics

While trailer telematics offers plenty of benefits fleets of any kind – precise delivery estimates, decreased dwell time and improved asset utilisation to name a few – it can be particularly useful for reefer fleets.  

After all, transporting cargo without the ability to monitor and manage cargo temperature can result in unforeseen product spoilage if something goes wrong within the refrigerated trailer. Arriving with spoiled cargo is a disaster for fleets as it impacts customer relations and incurs temperature-related load rejections and costly spoilage claims. 

Harrier Express – a UK–based fleet with over four decades of experience in the refrigerated haulage business – came to a similar conclusion. After Brexit resulted in increased demand for trailer freight, Harrier Express doubled their trailer pool count and needed to find a way to maintain control and visibility over their expanded fleet as it travelled across the English Channel. To solve this pain point, they worked with Longhurst Refrigeration – one of ORBCOMM’s UK distributors – to equip 60 of their refrigerated trailers with ORBCOMM’s advanced cold chain telematics solution, which provides remote reefer management, maintenance scheduling, temperature compliance data and real-time alerts.  

Simon Wilkinson, owner of Harrier Express, says the solution had an immediate impact.  

“Working with ORBCOMM has eliminated the risk of disruption to our business at multiple points of the supply chain. We’ve saved ourselves from many potential claims, reduced time spent tracking trailers manually, helped improve maintenance scheduling and added remote control of the refrigerated units which we didn’t have before.” 

Since Harrier Express’ refrigerated trailers often stop at several locations on the way to their destination, being able to keep an eye on each unit’s location is paramount. With in-cab temperature monitoring, Harrier Express’ drivers can take the guesswork out of cargo status and ensure that each product maintains its integrity while in transit. Plus, with reefer trailers often on the move and far from the shop, a data-driven maintenance scheduling program can help reduce the cost and resource strain of roadside repairs and unexpected breakdowns. 

“Harrier Express is a great example of how ORBCOMM solves fleets’ pressing business problems,” said Kelley Duarte, ORBCOMM’s SVP EMEA. “Our comprehensive cold chain solutions deliver strong ROI to Harrier Express by reducing the risk of produce spoilage, facilitating better trailer utilisation and enhancing maintenance scheduling”. 

To learn more about ORBCOMM’s cold chain telematics solutions, visit https://www.orbcomm.com/eu/industries/transportation-and-distribution/cold-chain-monitoring.  

Posted in 1. Transportation

Food Surplus Management demonstrates efficiency of CNG-powered vehicles using ORBCOMM data

Irish company proves the efficiency and low maintenance costs of compressed natural gas (CNG)-powered vehicles on its journey to a more sustainable fleet.


The company

Food Surplus Management (FSM) found the right fit with ORBCOMM to support its move to a more sustainable fleet using compressed natural gas as a proven and reliable alternative to diesel or petrol. As an after-market, mixed-fleet telematics provider, ORBCOMM was ideally positioned to provide a comprehensive and trusted system for comparing fuel savings and freight emissions across CNG- powered vehicles and a wide range of different makes and models of trucks.

Irish-owned FSM specialises in sustainable food waste collection, taking short-date and out-of-date food waste from retail, food, manufacturing and hospitality centres for recycling at its custom-built facilities. With over 15 years of experience, FSM provides a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to landfill. FSM is a company with strong environmental credentials. With sustainability at its heart, the company was one of the first in Ireland to use compressed natural gas to fuel its fleet, as it searched for a cleaner, more affordable and proven choice for its fleet. The potential for using gas for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) is to reduce C02 emissions from 7% to up to 23% over diesel* depending on drive cycles and payload.

The challenge

In 2017, Gas Networks Ireland, which owns and operates the country’s natural gas network, launched the first CNG Vehicle Fund to support businesses adopting the new technology. The initiative aimed to show the viability of CNG as an alternative to diesel. In addition to introducing high capacity fast-fill CNG stations across Ireland, the project included a subsidy scheme for the purchasing of new vehicles.

FSM was one of the first haulers to apply and purchased three Scania trucks powered by CNG as part of its fleet of 32 vehicles that operate nationwide. Niall Lord, Managing Director of Food Surplus Management, explained that one of the main reasons that FSM got on-board with the initiative was that it aligned with its company values. “In our business, we collect food waste. The food goes for anaerobic digestion, which is the production of biogas, biomethane. CNG was an obvious fuel for us,” said Lord.

To monitor the performance of its CNG vehicles against the rest of its fleet, FSM turned to its telematics system for data. FSM had switched from another provider to ORBCOMM telematics in 2018 and uses it to enhance the visibility of their trucks, drivers, and workflow, to improve driver behaviour on the road and save money on fuel and maintenance.

Lord sees ORBCOMM telematics as mission-critical for his fleet. “We switched over more than two years ago. We have the whole fleet there. We’re tracking everything. We use vehicle management, driver management, tachograph, the whole suite of reporting. Our transport manager and transport staff use it quite a lot.”

With the detailed information available through the ORBCOMM system incorporating maintenance, fuel burn information and driver performance scoring, it was the perfect partner for the CNG initiative.

The solution

The fuel savings offered by gas-powered trucks was a big reason for Lord and FSM to get involved and the initial results are promising. Lord says, “From a monitoring point of view, from the ORBCOMM system, fuel is probably what we watch most. It is also useful for maintenance planning and obviously for routing. We can see where the trucks are.”

Using ORBCOMM telematics to monitor the trucks’ fuel usage, Lord says the results speak for themselves. While fuel economy in diesel and CNG trucks were on a par, the savings on the lower costs made CNG a viable alternative.

“Fuel is an overhead. Gas is around 70 cents while diesel is in the 90s. There’s a 20% plus saving in fuel which is substantial. If you have that across the board, it’s a no-brainer”.

– Niall Lord, Managing Director of Food Surplus Management

FSM has been carefully monitoring the vehicles’ performance during the trial period, with a close eye on ORBCOMM dashboards to watch fuel and maintenance. Lord says, “There is definitely a saving in running costs. They run a very clean engine, we’ve had little or no mechanical problems with the vehicles either, which is huge. It’s important that trucks don’t have much downtime and the CNG-powered gas trucks have little or no downtime.” The company has had success with the pilot programme of three trucks. “I would absolutely recommend it. The fuel economy in the trucks is on par with diesel; they are very efficient.”

The future

As one of the first companies in Ireland to operate CNG vehicles, FSM wants to convert the whole fleet as soon as the refuelling rollout allows. For his fleet to convert fully, Lord says they’ll need a larger number of fuelling points. Without that, he says it will be challenging to grow the use of CNG trucks. When there is a full rollout in place, it will be the obvious choice to transition to a fully CNG-powered fleet. Lord says a switch to gas-powered trucks is a win-win situation. He says it is definitely a viable alternative to diesel. “The trucks work great. There’s nothing to prove technology-wise, with the vehicles themselves or the fuel economy they deliver.

Ready to unlock data-driven insights within your fleet? Schedule a demo with our team today.

Posted in 1. Transportation Tagged with: , , , , ,

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