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Wearable technology set to streamline and protect supply chain

Wearable technology innovations are ready to improve the efficient running of businesses, particularly when it comes to the supply chain.

‘The recent release of the Apple Watch has people talking about how wearable technology is set to change the way people live. Yet, applications for enhancing the way we do business are just as far-reaching,’ said Morne Janse van Rensburg, CEO of supply chain consultancy VSc Solutions which specialises in increasing productivity and profit across the supply chain. ‘We’re entering a world where businesses that’ll get ahead of the pack are those that are best able to integrate technology with their systems in an innovative way.’

According to Janse van Rensburg, wearable technology is ready to be applied to supply chains in order to enhance inputs into planning and route compliance software. ‘This will allow for more visibility and, ultimately, better management of the supply chain,’ he said.

But, despite technology which may replace people in other industries, human drivers will still be an integral part of moving goods from one end of the supply chain to the next.

‘Drivers are a critical link in the chain, so it’s important that we protect them,’ he added. ‘And the more proactive such protection can be, the better for the company and drivers.’

The benefits of incorporating technology such as Bluetooth and wireless into wristbands, similar to watches, centre on their ability to measure the rhythm of the wearer’s heart.

At present, onboard computers that track vehicles identify drivers via a tag pressed to the starter button. ‘The problem with this is that drivers sometimes swap their tags; yet by using the wristbands, one will be able to tell exactly who is driving. That means that issues around driver behaviour or health may be dealt with, amongst other things,’ he said.

Janse van Rensburg said monitoring drivers’ heart rhythms will also enable the control centre to tell whether the driver is under stress. ‘For example, a sudden jump in heart rate will indicate a stressful event such as a hijacking, enabling the control centre to send for help in case the driver is unable to raise the alarm. Also, a raised heart rate may also help one to identify which of a pool of drivers may be responsible for shrinkage,’ he added.

‘The world has become a global village,’ concludes Janse van Rensburg. ‘And this type of technology is just enabling us to do what we do with greater speed and efficiency, ultimately providing a better service to our customers.’

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