The specialty chemicals industry can be a brutal one—where only pennies per pound of material can cause a customer to switch from one supplier to another. Evonik wanted to delight its customers with shipment visibility, encouraging them to remain loyal and help reduce churn—IoT came to the rescue. Stakeholders at Evonik wanted to be able to provide real-time updates to their customers about the location of their shipment while in transit. Further, they wanted to assure customers that their shipments would arrive within the necessary environmental conditions needed for manufacturing processes. The only problem is that the solution had to be as cost-effective as possible, eliminating cellular GPS trackers as a viable option.
Mesh Systems developed a clever solution leveraging Bluetooth Low Energy sensors and mobile apps. By virtue of the smartphone revolution, the cost of Bluetooth chips has fallen considerably since it made its consumer debut in the iPhone 4. While not only driving up the supply of Bluetooth chips and thereby reducing the cost, smartphones also can act as a very low-cost option to backhaul Bluetooth sensor data to the cloud. Mesh designed and built a custom Bluetooth Low Energy temperature and humidity sensor that could be easily attached to totes and pallets of Evonik’s products. Evonik was able to negotiate with its 3rd party logistics providers to mandate that each driver carry a smartphone with an Evonik-branded shipment app also built by Mesh. This solution allowed Evonik to harvest the environmental condition data of the shipment and its location at a fraction of the cost of cellular-based GPS trackers.
With the data flowing to the cloud, the next order of business was to build an Evonik-branded shipment portal that displayed data on a per shipment basis. Mesh Systems’ User Experience (UX) team got to work. The result was an elegant and clean data visualization center that Evonik’s customer could log into to track their incoming shipments. The constant exposure to Evonik’s white and purple branding and access to data not provided by other chemical suppliers had the intended result—it created a stickier customer experience.