What is exactly meant when we talk about Smart Packaging? Smart Packaging is the concept of using an intelligent packaging that communicates on its own and proactively about the packaging and its contents. This makes the packaging “smart”. It communicates about how your products are doing and where they are. You can rougly distinguish two main pillars: location and status.
Location: where is my product now?
When we talk about location Track & Trace is an existing concept of course. However, this is often based on scanning a product (using the barcode on the packaging) at checkpoints that have been determined on beforehand. Between these checkpoints a lot can happen to your product that is out of your control. Next to that, the determined checkpoints make that you are dependent on the information your transporter can supply regarding the “last mile”. Often this is limited to: the product is in truck A, sorting centre B or airplane C. On top of that the scanning is often manual work and therefore it happens that products slip through. This means you can no longer track those products.
With the concept of Smart Packaging the packaging itself is the source of the tracking data. This means that you are able to see where your product is, real-time, when you want to see it. You will never lose products again and you will quickly see when products go “off-track” or get stuck somewhere.
Status: is my product still in a usable state?
The actual status of a product is a more complicated story. The product that is inside of the packaging is key here. Monitoring status is relevant for products that are sensitive to one or more influences that can occur during transport. E.g. electronic products can be damaged by shocks or water, most food products have temperature limits, sterile products can not be opened, etc. There is an endless list of examples.
For measuring these values there already are existing solutions in the form of sensors that show which influences your products has been exposed to. However, these solutions have the drawback that you can only see this when the products are already at their destination.
With the concept of Smart Packaging the packaging communicates at the very moment an incident occurs. It is too late to change something to this fact, but you are able to take action in the earliest possible stage. E.g. by sending a new product when you know the product you have already send will arrive in an unusable state.
Next to that you know exactly when an incident happened and who was responsible at that time. With this information you can point out problem areas in your process and continuously improve.
In practice: dashboard and alerts
FPC beyond packaging offers a solution to implement the Smart Packaging concept in your own environment with PackStatus.
Central at Smart Packaging is that you have control over everything that happens to your products during transport. A dashboard to check locations is crucial and therefore part of our offering. This gives you a complete and real-time overview of where your products are.
Even more relevant is that you receive real-time alerts of incidents that can occur during transport. You will directly receive all information about products that go “off-track”, are opened undesirably, are too hot or too wet, etc. so you can manage this immediately.
What would you like to know about your products during transport?
Do you recognize these issues? Do you have other information that you would like to gather during transport? I am very curious and would like to talk to you about this. Feel free to contact me!
Bart van Dijck
Project Manager FPC