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Proceedings of the 2011 International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Operations Management Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, January 22 – 24, 2011

Real-time Tracking and Tracing System: Potentials for the Logistics Network

AHM Shamsuzzoha and Petri T Helo

Department of Production

University of Vaasa, Vaasa, FI-65101, FINLAND

Abstract

The importance of tracking and tracing of shipments is considered quite high for manufacturing firms in terms of customer service and essential for managing logistics networks efficiently. Global industries are facing problems both from tracking and tracing in their logistics networks that creates huge coordination problems in the overall product development sites. This paper presents a sophisticated overview on technology-based methodology or approach for solving the complex tracking and tracing system in the logistics and supply chain network. The main objective of this research is to the management of logistics network through analyzing the new technological opportunities on real-time shipment tracking in dispersed manufacturing environment. It is hoped that these technologies would be able to offer solutions for tracking and tracing distribution chains through future information technologies such as available real time tracking technologies.

Keywords
Logistics tracking, IT-based solution, Distribution network, Real-time information flow, Business competition.

1. Introduction

The importance of tracking and tracing of shipments is considered quite high for manufacturing firms in terms of customer service and essential for managing logistics networks efficiently. Global industries are facing problems both from tracking and tracing in their logistics supply networks, that creates huge coordination problems in the overall product development sites. This problem looses the track among production, delivery and distribution in the complete logistics chain from source to destination, which is responsible for opportunity cost through customers’ dissatisfaction. Tracking system helps to identify the position of the shipment and informed the customer in well advance. Without tracking system it is almost impossible to find out delivered items and often considered as lost or stolen item that causes business loss. This system might fulfill the needs of project manager to map the production process from transportation to material management [1, 2].

In practice, there are several tracking systems available through GPS, GTIN [3], RFID [4], Barcode etc; however, all these systems are not fully compatible for industry. Most of the available tracking and tracing systems utilize proprietary tracking numbers defined by the individual companies operating systems and are based on information architecture, where the tracking information is centralized to the provider of the tracking service. Existing tracking systems can not able to identify the contents within a box for example, whether the box is open or the contents are lost or stolen etc. In order to tackle such misalignments in the logistics channel a state-of-the art technologies or tools are needed to be developed for sustainable production process. These tools are needed to be cost effective and at the same time possibility for reuse or recycling for any circumstances. Before proceed towards the real-time tracking technology, it is crucial to analyze its possible cause and effects. Optimal performance measures for the technologies could ensure projects success for any industries.

Tracking technologies in logistics networks are implemented fairly little in the global technology industry. Mostly high volume of global industries are implemented this technology with limited capabilities. The basic methods for all these tracking systems are usually confined for the customer to access the tracking information are within the area of tracing the shipments through manual queries such as using a www-site or telephone call,...
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