hen was the last time you heard someone talk about the information superhighway? It’s been a while since that metaphor for describing the internet was in vogue. With the Internet of Things (IoT) however, it may be time for the term to make a comeback — this time referring to our literal highways. The millions of personal and commercial vehicles on our roads represent a huge wealth of data, and supply chain companies like C.B. Stealth Express are working hard to harness it.

Through a recent partnership with Rogers Communications and blueRover, Milton-based food transport provider C.B. Stealth Express is bringing IoT cold chain management technology to their fleet of 123 trucks. The solution they are implementing includes GPS tracking technology, real-time temperature monitoring for food safety, automated driver hours-of-service tracking, and systems for simplifying daily vehicle service inspections. “C.B. Stealth is very committed to delivering great experiences for the customer,” says Ignacio Paz, General Manager, Internet of Things at Rogers Communications. “In pursuit of this, they want to modernize the entire supply chain and automate as many of their processes as they can.”

For food safety and logistics, data is everything

For transportation companies, especially those that transport food, having a complete picture of the health and status of their full fleet of vehicles is of paramount importance. By using an IoT solution to not only enrich the quality of their data but to aggregate that data into a single robust system for monitoring and analysis, C.B. Stealth Express is both simplifying and strengthening the information backbone of its operations. “With Rogers and blueRover, everything is very transparent and we have so much control over the system,” says C.B. Stealth Express CEO Brian Sandles. “We’re able to integrate it with other programs in our software package so that instead of signing on to two different software programs, we’re signing on to one and all the information is right there.”

The capabilities this technology brings to the company mean smoother operations and better service for the customer. “The customer will be able to see directly where a truck is in real time,” says Sandles. “They’ll be able to look at the software and see that a truck is 10 minutes away. And for the dispatcher, it makes a huge difference to be able to see at a glance exactly where everyone is and whether their trucks are empty.”

Improved data, increased revenue

Adopting any technology has associated costs for a business, but Sandles is confident that the business case for IoT in the transportation industry is strong. “This is going to make us more efficient, which will save us money,” he says. “And because we’ll be making better use of our drivers, they’ll make more money, too. Working with a lot of owner operators, that’s really the bottom line. If the drivers do well, we do well.”

The drivers, and everyone else in the company, also benefit from having tasks that are oblique to their professional skills taken out of their hands. “Automating these processes lets everyone focus on their most critical responsibilities rather than worrying about manually recording temperatures, for example,” says Paz.

C.B. Stealth Express is still in the process of rolling out this solution to their entire fleet, but they don’t expect their adoption of IoT to stop there. They’re already looking to the future with plans to modernize their warehousing and distribution centre with similar tools. “Other providers should be looking at how C.B. Stealth are innovating supply chain processes,” says Paz. “It takes courage and commitment to embrace new technology, and they have done so in a way that is helping them realize tangible business benefits.”

So the next time you see a refrigerated truck rolling down a Canadian highway, take a moment to visualize the torrent of data it may be beaming to the cloud, manifesting in reality that once aspirational expression — the information superhighway.