Manufacturers and suppliers of commodities are trying to establish a direct link to consumers and to strengthen their competitive position. The emerging concept known as product as a service (PaaS) transforms a product from a standalone function from a supplier to an integrated product and service offering. Examples of PaaS include a manufacturer using widely available wireless and Internet connectivity to outfit their products with sensors to better understand how their products are being used in the field. A commodities and agricultural giant turned to Lab651 to help create that direct link to turn its ordinary commodities business into a service business. In other words, being able to monitor its commodities at client sites to replenish or replace them in a timely fashion.
Lab651 created a sensor-based solution that was able to monitor our client’s commodity at its customer sites. The technology is based on a radar range finder tied to data acquisition with a cellular backhaul that reported the level information at clients’ large storage bins and silos.
Our client was able to convert its normal supply-chain process of ordering “when needed” into a fully automated just-in-time replenishment system. They are able to monitor their client’s usage and have better capacity planning from harvesting to shipping to the customer. Their customers never run out of product, which instills customer retention and bolsters the company’s competitive position.