In search of hazmat asset visibility

In search of hazmat asset visibility

Supply-chain solution providers are increasingly turning to real-time asset tracking services to address customer security concerns

Supply-chain solution providers are increasingly turning to real-time asset tracking services to address customer security concerns. Basking Ridge, NJ-based DP&C Enterprises has found that fewer than 10% of hazardous materials shippers and transporters have access to real-time asset tracking data. The company, which draws significant revenues from clients in the chemical industry, said that security concerns has prompted it to start providing real-time asset tracking services.

The survey was conducted by independent research firm markITelligence, which emailed 1,876 top firms in pharmaceutical, chemical, oil/gas and other “vertical” industry companies on procedures and technologies currently in place for monitoring hazmat products during shipment in non-powered containers.

The company received feedback from 183 respondents representing over 80 companies. More than half of the respondents manage at least 2,500 non-powered assets for hazardous materials, with none having fewer than 1,000.

Over a half of the companies rely on third-party services for asset tracking. The rest track assets internally, using a combination of GPS devices and software. More than two-thirds rated real-time data as being very or extremely important.

“We’ve been working [on security-related services] for a year and a half. Our root is more in the supply-chain side, such as process improvement, plant automation, and RFID work,” Feza Pamir, vp of sales & marketing for DP&C told FleetOwner. “But the one thing that kept coming up was what happens to the goods…when they leave the supplier plant or the customer warehouse depot. We were looking at it totally from a supply-chain perspective and the safety/security side kept coming up with customers. [We initiated this survey to] validate all we’re hearing and decided as a company we’re going to make an investment in this area.”

Respondents cited “safety and security” factors as being of the greatest interest—edging out asset utilization. But despite the intense interest in the security benefits of the technology, for many companies capital investment won’t see the light of day unless a specific return-on-investment target could be achieved, Pamir said.

“Every transporter we speak to says for each order they accept there are four to nine orders they cannot fulfill partly because of the lack of drivers,” Pamir said. “The bottom line is that they need to improve their asset turns. The demand is simply there.

“A lot of companies are very much in pilot stages [of implementing real-time asset tracking],” Pamir continued. “We haven’t seen companies implementing [the technology] across the board with their entire fleet, but when you look at preliminary results many logistics managers will tell you they can get at least a 5% to10% improvement in asset utilization.”

Addressing the need for 24-hour real-time tracking, DP&C offers a line of battery-powered data collection products with Web access, so that assets can be monitored for periods of up to three years without replacing or recharging the battery.

For more information on the DP&C survey or its solutions, go to www.dpcellc.com.

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