Case studies

Applications of IoT in the consumer goods industry

Credit: Bert van Dijk/Getty images.

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Nestle’s digital warehouse is tech-enabled

Nestlé partnered with XPO Logistics in 2021 for its flagship distribution centre in Leicestershire, UK. The centre, fully unveiled in March 2021, employs IoT, robotics, and AI technology to improve efficiency. It includes advanced sorting systems, robotics, and automation technologies co-developed with Swisslog Logistics Automation. AI-driven predictive analytics were used on the data collected by IoT sensors. 

Alongside the distribution centre, the site contains a laboratory in which XPO hopes to continue its R&D and provide in-house testing. This facility will help the partnership continue to find and make efficiency gains. One example of the centre’s state-of-the-art technology is the monorail that transports goods around the warehouse and to specialised storage areas, including facilities such as temperature-controlled racking to aid preservation and shelf life.  

The agile supply chain can plan bespoke pallets of mixed products optimised by palletisation and programmed to consider aspects such as which products should be placed nearer the bottom to aid weight distribution and transportation.

Stora Enso’s plastic-alternative RFID tags

In 2021, Finnish pulp and paper manufacturer Stora Enso unveiled the first sustainable RFID tag, Eco. The Eco tag is a 100% fiber-based paper label, offering a plastic-free alternative and recyclable option for packaging authentication. The introduction of Eco is a move towards offering sustainable alternatives to plastic RFID tags.  

The RFID technology from Stora Enso enables the packaged product to be automatically traced and tracked along the entire supply chain. The company claims that the Eco RFID tags match the functionality and durability of conventional plastic RFID tags but should reduce the carbon footprint of business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) companies. According to life cycle assessment studies, the Eco RFID tags provide up to 40% decrease in carbon footprint.  

Berry Global aims to reduce its energy consumption

Berry Global is a marketer and manufacturer of plastic packaging products. As part of its strategy to reduce energy consumption at its sites by 3% per year, the company partnered with Industrial Internet specialist Newsteo.  

At its Bailleul site in France, Berry installed an IoT system to remotely read electricity, gas, and water meters, allowing it to monitor energy consumption in real-time. Beforehand, Berry would record energy consumption manually once per month. The new system consisted of a Newsteo data logger configured to Newsteo’s Webmonitor software, allowing calculations to be completed on the interface based on the meter readings. Using the system, Berry Global could detect and remedy abnormal water consumption, saving approximately 10m³ of water every 24 hours.  

Users could also set up an alert system on Webmonitor, which uses hourly consumption data to identify abnormal consumption patterns. The company plans to equip its raw materials storage tanks to monitor consumption data and optimise supply.

GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Thematic Intelligence uses proprietary data, research, and analysis to provide a forward-looking perspective on the key themes that will shape the future of the world’s largest industries and the organisations within them.