Adarsh Kumar, Saumitra Singh, and Sameer Singh laid the foundation of TagBox four years ago with the idea of bringing in new innovations aimed at solving the complexities of the cold supply chain ecosystem. The products are aimed at creating solutions that traverse the journey from data generation to data processing to insights and finally ability to drive organizational decision making. From winning Qualcomm Design in India challenge in 2017, making it to the list of top 100 in the Karnataka Elevate Program in 2018, being top 10 in NASSCOM’s Emerge50 list in 2019, CII’s startupreneur winner in IT and Electronics 2020, to Series-A investment of $3.85M from TVS Group, the company has deployed more than 25,000 sensors, tracked above 750,000 trips, monitored 6,000+ assets and generated over 1M+ insights and actions. In a conversation with CXO Outlook, Adarsh Kumar talks about how technologies such as IoT, AI and ML transforming the supply chains, TagBox’s way of reshaping the Industry’s outlook towards IoT, Supply Chain IoT predictions and much more.
How have ICT requirements of companies in the logistics sector evolved amidst growing digitalisation?
Logistics companies globally have, in one way or the other, tried to digitalize aspects of their business. Example, providing real-time GPS location of a truck in transit has almost become a norm globally. However, the really outstanding logistics companies are investing in creating a complete digital twin of their operations and supply chains. This includes:
- Adoption of IOT for monitoring assets and supply chains,
- An app-enabled workforce to eliminate paperwork
- An automated transactional and financial system to ease contracts and payments
- A real-time control tower system to be able to manage dynamic changes in the supply chain and keep the end customer updated at all times
How are technologies such as IoT, AI and ML transforming the sector? Can you highlight some of the emerging use cases?
IoT, ML and AI are three very unique technologies, but very powerful when applied together. For example, TagBox has deployed our BoxLens platform to predict the risk of perishable products spoilage for e-commerce grocery shipments. This involved temperature data coming from our Tag360 temperature sensor (IOT), being used to create a statistical model (ML) to predict temperature excursion risk and automated alerts and notifications (AI) to warehouse manager to repack the order if there is high probability of failure. Many such examples exists where IOT data is blended with contextual ERP data from client to create real-time reporting, aggregated analytics and recommendations/actions.
Other emerging use cases include asset tracking, asset utilization monitoring, staff SOP adherence and productivity monitoring and process adherence.
What can companies do to overcome the organisational and internal barriers to innovate and embrace these technologies?
Every company needs to create a SWAT team to identify latent needs in the organizations, scouting for new technology solutions to solve these needs, doing proof of concepts and acceleration solution adoption and change management within the organization. The trend we see is that a lot of companies are creating “Innovation” teams, but they are not defining clear KPIs for measuring the success of such teams. This results in a lot of “innovation” activity, but rarely any strong business results. Ideally the SWAT team should report to CEO/CFO and be accountable for topline or bottomline improvements through their program.
How is TagBoX bridging the B2B applications of IoT?
TagBox has created an end-to-end product which combines IOT, ML and AI in a single platform. This has helped make the adoption of our solution very seamless for our customers as they don’t have to go searching for hardware, software, ERP integration or analytics partners. Our solution is a one-stop-shop that delivers all these components.
TagBox doesn’t believe in one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to IOT. We believe in contextualizing and customizing the solution to fit into the operating environment of the client. For example, a) choice of hardware enclosures, IP rating, battery life and b) customization on reports and analytics modules based on customer needs.
TagBox’s system is completely wireless, and free of manual interventions. This helps with faster adoption amongst the field team of our customers.
As a technology-driven company that aims to seamlessly blend disruptive technologies to make supply chains reliable, smarter, and resilient, how is TagBox reshaping Industry’s outlook towards IoT?
TagBox wants to ‘tag every box’ that’s out there. While box is just a placeholder here, the idea is to be able to monitor supply chains, assets, people and processes at the most micro level of granularity that is needed to make effective business decisions. We are working with our customers to create commercials models to ease IOT adoption (ex. a fully subscription based model) and deployment models where all IOT hardware installation, service and maintenance can be managed remotely. We would like our client to think of IOT, not as a monitoring tool, but a business enablement tool.
What technology-trends are set to disrupt the supply chain and logistics sector soon?
We had created 20 Supply Chain IoT predictions for the 2020s decade:
Industry Adoption of Supply Chain IIot
- Product information demand from end customers will become the norm for Smart Trust
- IOT will emerge as an operational enablement tool for last-mile heavy businesses
- Real-time temperature and location monitoring for Pharmaceutical distribution will get its (late) adoption
- Healthcare and MedTech companies will measure device availability and readiness using IOT
- Tighter food safety norms in fast expanding online food industry will warrant IOT enablement
- Intra-facility supply chains will adopt IOT for traceability and operational efficiency
- ‘Intrinsically safe’ wireless IOT solutions will be developed for hazardous environments
Technology Enablers for IIot Adoption
- Low power networks and better batteries will drive Supply Chain IIOT feasibility.
- Miniaturization and Printed Circuits will make Supply Chain IIOT deployment broad based and granular
- Supply Chain IIOT will rise with growth of cloud computing and managed cloud services
- IOT pipes into Enterprise Big Data Lakes will pave the way for broader SC IIOT data utilization in companies
- Machine learning models using multi-dimensional IOT and external data will improve supply chain predictability
- Forward computing and hyper automation closer to the edge will move SC IIOT from information to insight to control
- IIOT security will have to be beefed up to prevent attacks and breaches
- Multi-dimensional IOT solutions will triumph over single applications
- E2EOTB (End to End, Out of the Box) IOT solutions will be preferred
- There will be a shift from retro-fit IOT to Smart Assets as a Service (SAAAS)
- A new IOT data sharing paradigm will emerge
- IoT enabled Blockchain products will form the backbone of sensitive supply chains
- R&D or continuous sampling framework of IOT will be deployed for low value/margin supply chains