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  • Writer's pictureLyat Avidor Peleg

Securing Assets in Transit: Preventing Theft and Loss with RTLS Technology

The global logistics and transportation industry is a massive, intricate network that moves billions of goods from place to place every day. In 2023, the total value of global trade was estimated at around $31 trillion, reflecting the vast scale of goods in transit at any given moment. With such extensive movement, the risk of inventory loss is significant. In 2023, CargoNet reported a substantial surge in cargo theft incidents, marking a 57% increase from 2022. The stolen goods amounted to nearly $130 million, although the actual total could be substantially higher due to non-mandatory reporting practices. Particularly alarming was a 68% year-over-year increase in theft during Q4 2023, underscoring the unprecedented rise in these incidents.

Addressing these challenges is critical for the health of the global economy, and Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) have emerged as one of the most effective ways of combating the loss of goods in transit. In this blog, we will explore how RTLS can be used to prevent loss, as well as the various technologies available, best practices for implementation, and how to choose the right RTLS system for your needs.


A thief at a warehouse

Table of Contents


Understanding How RTLS Technology is Used in Securing Assets


What is RTLS?

RTLS is a technology used to track and identify the geographic location of objects or people in real-time. It typically relies on a combination of hardware such as radio frequency (RF) transmitters, receivers, and various types of tags or badges. RTLS systems use these components to pinpoint the position of assets within a defined area, often indoors where GPS signals may not be reliable. Additionally, RTLS can be used to track goods in transit, allowing for real-time monitoring and management of shipments as they move through the chain of custody


How RTLS Works in Asset Tracking

RTLS for goods in transit involves tagging items with RTLS devices and strategically placing fixed receivers at key points like warehouses, ports, and hubs. These receivers pick up signals from RTLS tags as goods move through the supply chain, relaying data wirelessly to a central management system. This system then processes real-time data to pinpoint each item's location and monitor details such as transit times, temperature and more. Deeyook asset tracking is an example of an RTLS solution that also integrates with analytics tools to provide insights on transit routes and inventory levels. A key factor for loss prevention is its capacity to trigger alerts for exceptions like unauthorized movements or delays.


Approaching Asset Tracking Systems and Loss Prevention

So how do goods go missing in transit? 

  • Theft: During transit, goods are especially vulnerable to theft at various points such as loading docks, trucks, and distribution centers.

  • Misplacement: Misplacement in transit largely occurs because of mistakes with documentation and incorrect loading/unloading procedures.

  • Damage: Damage in transit can be caused by improper packing, handling mishaps, or accidents.

  • Operational Losses: These are inefficiencies or disruptions in operations because critical assets are unavailable or lost. This can delay deliveries, affect customer satisfaction, and increase operational costs.

RTLS can significantly reduce all these types of losses by providing continuous, real-time visibility into the location and status of assets throughout the entire supply chain. 


Preventing Theft and Loss with RTLS Technology

Here’s how RTLS can be used to prevent the loss of goods in transit:


Real-Time Monitoring: RTLS enables continuous, real-time tracking of assets, allowing:

  • Immediate Detection: Unauthorized asset movements or tampering can be detected instantly, allowing for quick intervention and the prevention of theft or damage.  

  • Geofencing: Virtual boundaries (geofences) around specific areas can be set up to trigger alerts if assets enter or exit designated zones. This is particularly useful for ensuring goods stay on their intended route.


Automated Alerts: RTLS systems send automated alerts based on predefined criteria:

  • For Unauthorized Access: Alerts security teams about unauthorized access to assets, allowing them to intervene immediately. 

  • Movement Alerts: Notifies staff of unexpected asset movements or deviations from predefined paths, facilitating immediate investigation and response. 


Data Analytics: RTLS generates valuable data that can be used to enhance security measures:

  • Pattern Recognition: Analyzes asset movement patterns to identify anomalies or suspicious activities that could indicate security breaches.

  • Predictive Analysis: Uses historical data to forecast potential risks and optimize asset management strategies.

  • Operational Insights: Provides actionable insights into operational inefficiencies, and reduces the number of lost assets needed for the smooth running of processes.


Enhanced Accountability: RTLS systems improve accountability through detailed tracking and audit capabilities:

  • Tracking Employees: By recording interactions between employees and assets, organizations can identify responsible parties during incidents of loss or theft in transit.

  • Audit Trails: Creating comprehensive audit trails by documenting all asset movements and interactions, is invaluable for investigations and audits.

  • Deterrence: Acts as a deterrent against theft or mishandling by increasing the likelihood of detection.


RTLS technology is a game-changer for preventing the loss of goods in transit. By keeping assets firmly in your sight and alerting you when things go awry, you can act quickly and put an end to unauthorized activities. It's like having a private security force for every single one of your tagged assets. 

What are the Leading Wireless Standards Today for Asset Tracking?

RTLS can leverage various technologies, including RFID, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Infrared (IR), each offering different advantages in terms of range, accuracy, and cost. 

  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID): RFID uses electromagnetic fields to automatically identify and track tags attached to objects. Passive RFID tags are powered by the electromagnetic field generated by RFID readers and are suitable for environments like warehouses where goods pass through checkpoints. 

  • Wi-Fi Tracking: Wi-Fi tracking uses existing Wi-Fi infrastructure to determine the location of Wi-Fi-enabled devices. It triangulates positions based on signal strength and can be cost-effective by leveraging existing networks. 

  • Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE): BLE is a wireless communication technology designed for short-range communication and is known for its low power consumption. It is suitable for environments where precise tracking is required over short distances, such as within warehouses or short-distance transit scenarios.

  • Infrared (IR): IR uses infrared light for communication and tracking. It offers high accuracy and is immune to radio frequency interference, making it suitable for precise indoor tracking. However, it requires a direct line of sight between IR transmitters and receivers, which can limit its effectiveness in complex transit environments.


Best Practices for Loss Prevention in Asset Tracking During Transit

Here are some best practices that will help you leverage RTLS technology to its maximum:

  • Implement RFID or barcode tagging to create comprehensive asset inventories and to track items throughout their lifecycle.

  • Perform risk assessments and develop tailored security policies to identify and mitigate vulnerabilities during transit. 

  • Use RTLS technology for continuous, real-time monitoring of assets in transit and configure instant alerts for unauthorized movements or access attempts.

  • Use geofencing to establish virtual boundaries around critical zones and set alerts for assets crossing those lines. 

  • Analyze RTLS data for insights into asset movements and any anomalies. Use predictive analytics to help anticipate risks and optimize security.

  • Integrate RTLS with existing security systems such as surveillance cameras for a unified approach to asset protection.

  • Conduct routine audits to verify that your asset records are accurate and that there are no gaps in your processes and policies.


Choosing the Right RTLS System for Your Needs

Selecting the best RTLS for your organization involves evaluating several factors to ensure alignment with your specific requirements and operational goals. Some important points to consider include:

  • Technology Requirements: Choose the RTLS technology that meets your asset tracking precision requirements. For example, BLE for high accuracy in confined spaces versus RFID or Wi-Fi for broader coverage with slightly lower accuracy.

  • Scalability and Coverage: Assess if the RTLS solution can scale with your organization’s growth and cover the operational area while maintaining accuracy.

  • Integration Capabilities: Select a system that can integrate seamlessly with your tech stack, including your ERP, inventory management, and security systems.  

  • User Interface and Ease of Use: Opt for an RTLS system with an intuitive interface. It enhances user adoption and makes the system more effective.  

Security and Data Privacy: It is important to select a system that complies with data security standards and privacy regulations to safeguard asset-tracking information.


Deeyook's Advanced Asset Tracking Technologies

Deeyook offers a comprehensive cloud-based Location as a Service (LaaS) solution designed for real-time and historical asset tracking. 

Key Features and Capabilities:

  • Leveraging Existing Wi-Fi Infrastructure: Deeyook's RTLS harnesses existing Wi-Fi infrastructure within logistics networks to track goods in transit. By utilizing Wi-Fi access points already in place, the system eliminates the need for additional hardware installation. 

  • Exceptional Accuracy and Scalability: Loss prevention hinges on precise asset tracking, and Deeyook excels in this regard with its patented interferometry technology. Capable of pinpointing asset locations within a 10 cm radius, the system provides unparalleled accuracy. The system also scales effortlessly as your logistics operations expand. 

  • Low-Power, Long-Lasting Tags: Deeyook's tags are engineered for efficiency with low-power consumption design. This ensures extended battery life and reduces the frequency of maintenance interventions. For goods in transit, these tags offer continuous monitoring without interruption.

Seamless Integration with Existing Systems: Integrating smoothly with Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and other logistics software, Deeyook’s RTLS system provides a centralized platform for data management.


Key Takeaways

Significant Risk

The global logistics industry faces considerable challenges from theft and loss incidents, highlighting the critical need for effective asset tracking solutions.

RTLS Technology

Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS) offer real-time tracking capabilities using technologies like RFID, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Infrared, enabling continuous monitoring of assets throughout the supply chain.

Enhanced Security Features

RTLS systems provide capabilities such as real-time monitoring, geofencing for virtual boundaries, automated alerts for unauthorized movements, and detailed data analytics for predictive insights and operational efficiencies.

RTLS Helps Combat Loss

RTLS technology plays a pivotal role in mitigating the loss of goods during transit by providing real-time visibility and proactive monitoring of assets. This capability allows logistics operators to detect and respond swiftly to unauthorized movements, deviations from planned routes, or other anomalies that could lead to theft, misplacement, or damage of goods.

Contact us to explore how Deeyook can transform your asset-tracking operations and bolster your loss-prevention strategies. Secure your assets with confidence and harness the full potential of RTLS technology with Deeyook.



FAQ's

1. How can RTLS technology improve asset logistics and courier tracking?

RTLS technology enhances asset logistics and courier tracking by providing real-time visibility into the location and status of assets throughout their journey. By leveraging technologies like RFID, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or Infrared, RTLS systems accurately pinpoint asset locations, even in environments where GPS signals may be unreliable (such as indoors or dense urban areas). This capability allows logistics operators to track shipments, optimize routing, reduce transit times, and improve overall operational efficiency. 

2. How does RTLS help in preventing theft and loss of assets in transit?

RTLS plays a crucial role in preventing theft and loss of assets in transit through several key features:

  • Real-Time Monitoring: Continuous monitoring of asset location and movement allows for immediate detection of unauthorized activities or deviations from planned routes.

  • Geofencing: Virtual boundaries (geofences) can be set up to trigger alerts when assets enter or exit designated areas, enhancing security and ensuring assets stay on track.

  • Automated Alerts: RTLS systems can send automated alerts for unauthorized movements, tampering, or other suspicious activities, enabling quick response and intervention.

  • Data Analytics: By analyzing real-time and historical data, RTLS identifies patterns and trends that may indicate potential risks or vulnerabilities in transit routes, enabling proactive risk management strategies.

3. What factors should be considered when choosing an RTLS system?

  • Technology: Choose the RTLS technology (RFID, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc.) that best suits your tracking needs in terms of accuracy, range, and environmental suitability.

  • Scalability: Ensure the RTLS system can scale with your business growth and accommodate increasing asset tracking demands.

  • Integration: Verify compatibility and ease of integration with existing logistics systems, such as Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) or Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems.

  • Reliability and Maintenance: Evaluate the system’s reliability, including battery life of tags, maintenance requirements, and support availability to minimize downtime.

  • Security and Data Privacy: Select an RTLS system that meets security standards and regulations to protect sensitive tracking data and ensure compliance with privacy requirements.

4. Can RTLS be integrated with existing logistics systems?

Yes, RTLS systems are designed to integrate seamlessly with existing logistics systems. They typically offer compatibility with various software platforms, including WMS, ERP, and other enterprise-level applications. Integration allows for centralized data management, real-time synchronization of asset tracking information, and enhanced visibility across the supply chain. This integration capability facilitates improved decision-making, operational efficiency, and overall logistics management effectiveness.



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