Smart Sentry Keeps A Lifeless Eye on Logistics

By Freddie Pierce
Click here to read this article in the magazine edition! Staff Contributor: Heather Rushworth Like it or not, we live in an ever-accelerating universe...

Click here to read this article in the magazine edition!

Staff Contributor: Heather Rushworth

Like it or not, we live in an ever-accelerating universe. The speed of technology has hastened the urgency in which we operate in the world, and for our industry, this means customers expect faster deliveries than ever before. And while this mega-surge towards speedy accessibility has increased, the desire for transparency has not waned; instead, it’s only increased with the speed of the times.   

In many ways, the supply chain industry has failed to keep in step with the increasing accessibility and convenience of technology. Express delivery providers offered speed, but their lack of ability to monitor shipments delayed the accurate delivery of many orders, ultimately costing them and the company precious time and money. And in extremely time-sensitive cases with high-risk ramifications— like medical transplant shipments—the delay in time too often caused fatal losses within the business.

Enter leading provider of express delivery service: DHL, who has continuously pushed the envelope (pun intended?) on urgent shipment, often redefining the marketplace as they do so with their innovative services groups DHL Same Day and DHL Express. The relevant company saw the need for an application that would monitor every component of a shipment—temperature, humidity, light-- every step of the way, yet nothing of such rigorous standards existed on the market.

DHL’s Smart Sentry, a wireless-tracking device for high stakes cargo loads, is the first device to answer B2B’s hunger for transparency in supply chain deliveries. Many people refer to the company as the “ambulance of the broken supply chain” as they deploy speedy mitigation for high stake deliveries, often saving the businesses they serve with their quick yet meticulous delivery.

Ultimately, DHL had to go at developing the product alone, as their partner in delivery, the airline industry, simply did not have the funds to invest in such specialized technology. And while such case-sensitive deliveries were urgent, they were not common, occupying a select niche of the market that the broad service focus of the airline industry could fiscally not justify with heavy investment. 

Matt Groppe, Director of Global Business Development for DHL Same Day, explains the niche market Smart Sentry hopes to serve, “The application is for companies who see high risk in their supply chain.”

Ultimately, risk management is one of the key benefits to the high-tech device. Given the recent catastrophes in Thailand and Japan, the topic of managing risk has become a heated issue in the supply chain industry, and Smart Sentry may be one of the keys to maintaining quality in the midst of unexpected chaos.

“If something has to move quickly in a disaster, we have full accessibility in monitoring the safety of the shipment,” Groppe explains. “We say, ‘what is the temp?’ And it phones home that information. So we have to be able to respond to that information, and mitigate those risks to make sure it is delivered in the best condition.”

It is an unimaginable feat to bridge the gap between the highly-evolved demands of the modern business world with a quick and soundproof supply chain, but it seems DHL’s Smart Sentry has finally made visible, immediate delivery a tangible reality.


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