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A few years ago bad roads would slow you down, says Derek Richardson, but now…

… it’s more likely to be IT bottlenecks that hamper your logistics.

I’ve been rushing between multiple warehouses throughout Europe and Scandinavia this month. Our massive logistics client runs a predictably huge legacy IT system and – as is so often the case – making any alterations to that involves programmers, workflow designers and business process managers, schedulers, budgeters… Design and sign off can take six months plus and double that for implementation. To a logistics manager trying to make something happen it can feel like trying to water ski with a supertanker.

Derek RichardsonThankfully, something called low code can circumvent that nightmare – simple cloud-based plug and play solutions that are fast to design and implement, inexpensive and low risk since they don’t disturb that IT supertanker!

We very simply install a wireless monitoring system in all the warehouses and that data comes back not individually through lots of horrible firewall breaks into the main global server – that’s the way to give IT guys a heart attack! – but to a local concentrator box in the warehouse and that offloads the data by mobile phone to our own central server.

Synergy software at that central location collects all the data collection from Europe, Scandinavia and even parts of Eastern Europe where there are no networks. It all comes back over the mobile phone network avoids their IT.

An ‘old-style’ or ‘traditional’ product would have sensors in each warehouse and they’d all come back to smart receivers, and the smart receivers would each be connected via an IP address across a LAN (Local Area Network) back to the client’s main server – all of that involves IT.

And you have to get IP addresses punched through firewalls for all the smart receivers in the different sites. Stop and think for a second… ‘Firewall’. It’s there to keep things out isn’t it? So it stands to reason that opening up holes in it all over the place makes a ‘perforated’ firewall. And that isn’t a lot of good as a firewall any more.

So when IT people object, they’re not being awkward – they understand how it works, they’re looking ahead to problems and they have a very valid and important point of view that’s crazy to ignore.

To avoid all that we have the radio sensors in each local area transmitting back to a box, and that box has a GSM module inside it and that then wakes up and transmits the data via the mobile phone network back to the central server. And because it is hosted on the cloud there is no IT and then the client can view it over the internet using a web browser. Or even their tablet or smartphone!

This all happens quickly, inexpensively and without IT risk.

Who would ever have thought that the solution to a roadblock would be found in a cloud?

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