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Achieving real-time visibility in supply chains – whether it is chickens, chainsaws, or hearts Executive Insights – Jim Waters of Tive

Executive Insights is a series by Shipping and Freight Resource, that brings you unique perspectives and thoughtful analysis of what is happening in the world of maritime, shipping, freight, logistics, supply chain, and trade – directly from industry experts..

There have always been various issues and challenges in supply chain, but the last two to three years have really brought those to the surface, especially in terms of visibility. Visibility could mean different things to different companies and customers, so it is really about understanding what visibility means and sharing the way in which real-time visibility can solve supply chain challenges using real-life cases and not just technological jargon.

In this edition of Executive Insights, we interviewed Jim Waters – Head of Global Marketing at Tive to speak practically about real-time visibility in supply chain and how it has benefited businesses in real-life..

SFR: Hi Jim, glad to have you with us today.. Can you give us a brief about Tive as a company and your role in it and how Tive is trying to make a difference in the market?

JW: I am Jim Waters, Head of Global Marketing here at Tive since 2020. I am responsible for communicating the importance and advantages of real-time visibility (location and condition) of shipments.

Tive is a real-time visibility provider providing customers with 24×7 visibility of shipments using multi-sensor trackers that stream location and condition data to the Tive platform or an existing TMS/WMS platform using an API.

Tive provides real-time data on cargo inside a container, truck, trailer, ship, aircraft or just about anywhere using their proprietary multi-sensor trackers.

At Tive, we like to think that location is the cornerstone of any visibility addressing questions like “Where is the cargo,” “When is it going to arrive” “Is it going to be late in the truck or did the ship get stuck somewhere?” “Is there a breakdown” and other questions related to location.

Tive’s various IoT tracking devices not only provide data on location and condition but also report in real-time, allowing shippers and logistics service providers to intervene to prevent delays and damage before it happens, enabling better business and happier customers

SFR: What is the importance of real-time visibility in the current global trade scenario and how is Tive helping the market achieve it..?? 

JW: Visibility is not a new aspect of shipping – in fact, passive data loggers have been included on many shipments for years – usually recording temperatures of shipments mainly for compliance, quality, and safety. However, they have and continue to be passive – the data is logged while in transit and downloaded after a shipment has already arrived and been unloaded. So only a post-mortem can be conducted in the event an excursion happened.

In today’s economy, it is really important that companies are able to plan and plan ahead to make sure that customers are getting what they want on time and in full and we make that happen.

The way we are helping the market achieve this is through our proprietary IoT device roughly the size of a deck of cards that can be added to a box, carton, or any type of packaging really. With a push of a button, the data is transmitted in real-time to either our platform or a platform of the customer’s choice, alerting the customer, shipper, or both, and letting all stakeholders know that a truck that was supposed to be there at 3:00 PM is now going to be there at 5:00 PM.

Tive solo 5G

The device works at various different levels including a container level, and then we track it from the furthest pallet in the back if it’s over the road, which gives the most accurate reading.

If we see any deviations in temperature on a perishable load, we can let the customer know in real-time whether a reefer container is down or if it is broken. Shippers then have the choice to be prudent and release another load rather than have a spoiled load show up on the dock where it’s just going to get rejected. If the driver happened to shut off the truck while he is waiting in line to save some gas, you can start to see the temperature rise.

We also tell people if there was a shock event at the box level. So, if you are shipping laptops, you do not want them showing up broken. If we see a 4G, 5G or 6G event happen, we let the people know when and where it happened.

SFR: How far has the importance of real-time visibility permeated the freight market in your view and what would be some of the drivers to increase market penetration..?? 

JW: Real-time visibility has permeated the freight market in a number of ways. Most notably, the ability to actively monitor shipments so action can be taken before a shipment is delayed or damaged – helps save valuable relationships between shippers and their customers – and between receivers and their customers. It is hard enough to acquire customers – companies can’t afford to lose customers over delayed and/or damaged shipments

In terms of increasing market penetration, I would say that we need to move on from passive data logging where you are just putting something on a box or a pack and then taking it off at the end of the load and sticking it in a computer and downloading it for a post-mortem. This is kind of a thing of the past.

We know for a fact from data, that people are moving more towards real-time because it is affordable, and it is easy to deploy, as you know as you have seen and reviewed our product.

All you do is push that one green button and then you have complete visibility of the cargo whether it is on sea, rail, road, or planes. We are tracking cargo on over 130+ airlines that we are approved on, so it has really become, the focus for a lot of shippers to know exactly what is going on with their loads.

Also, the concept of Just In Time has kind of disappeared, I will not say it is over, but people need to take more initiatives in their planning, so if something does go wrong, they can make sure that they know about it ahead of time and they can actively manage to cover their needs.

There needs to be more engagement in the industry about the capabilities of real-time visibility and sharing of data in order to achieve widespread adoption. Widespread adoption of technology is the only way in which trade can save on costs of claims, delays, production stoppages, and such.

SFR: What value does Tive want to communicate to the market and how will this value be maintained..??

JW: The value Tive brings to the market is quality real-time data and collaboration. That, there is no need to have wasted loads. On the data side, we provide critical location and condition data that ensure shipments get to the people they need to without delays and damage. On the collaboration side, we ensure that all parties from end to end have the information they need to take action in the event an excursion happens.

We have many different case studies where using one of our trackers and using our real-time 24/7 monitoring, customers have saved several hundreds of thousands of dollars. If you think about perishables like Strawberries or Blueberries, putting our small device on one of those loads can end up saving a lot for the customer. So, the ROI is incredible.

SFR: Can you share some of the challenges that Tive’s product has successfully overcome for its customers..?? 

JW: There are so many great stories of how Tive has helped save critical shipments. One of my favorites is GEODIS which has seen a significant ROI since using Tive trackers across most of its shipments, specifically when it comes to saving servers.

For example, a shipment of six server racks from Hungary failed to arrive in Chicago as planned. There was no need to panic, real-time data recorded by Tive trackers immediately showed the servers were safe and sound in the Amsterdam airport. Two days later, the shipment arrived in Chicago, saving them $1 million shipments, and preventing the loss of the customer.

Another example is one of our customer, Alpine Fresh who ship Blueberries and Strawberries. They recently saved hundreds of thousands of dollars by knowing in real-time that some type of temperature excursion had happened with a load of berries. They were able to discuss options with their customer and salvage the situation in advance.

We have also had a number of customers that have well over $1,000,000 in high-value goods that would have arrived broken if not for real-time monitoring.

We have a dedicated team of over 20 people who are experts in looking at loads and monitoring every single shipment for customers that are using our monitoring service on a 24/7 basis.

If our team starts to see excursions go above or outside of the parameters set by the client, they provide an alert to the client so they can fix the issues immediately before the cargo reaches its end destination. This increases customer satisfaction which is a big ROI.

SFR: Tive seems to have achieved a good level of understanding of the market and the market knows you as well. So, what is next for Tive in terms of future offerings.. How else can your product be tuned for the current and future markets..?? 

It is interesting that you ask this question because Tive has a number of exciting developments in the pipeline. In April, we launched the Solo 5G Pharma which is specific to cold chain and critical cold chain.

This latest addition combines the power of the Solo 5G tracker with the addition of two probes that plug into the devices and provide insights into dry ice and cryo-cold shipments. This means we can now measure the temperature down at the cryo cold level and the dry ice level.

These probes and devices can help in tracking the movement of meat, perishables, and literally hundreds if not thousands of vaccines and medicines out there that are not only going from the manufacturer to the market, but also going from a manufacturer to a testing site, and testing site back to the manufacturer. So we’re involved in all different facets of where those different medications and vaccines are headed.

SFR: Tive’s products are used for various commodities.. What are some of the key commodities/modes of transportation where your product can really add value to the supply chain..?? 

JW: We are heavily involved in the perishables market – fruits, vegetables, flowers, and others, most of which are tracked over the road (truck) – but can certainly extend to air as well.  We are also heavy in retail, tracking the location and condition of high-value goods, such as electronics, laptops, and even Apple iPhones.

Right now, we are approved for our non-lithium device with over 130+ plus airlines, growing every day and we are actually the world’s first non-lithium device. It is one of the cornerstones of what has made Tive the premium IoT service provider through the use of the non-lithium tracker.

In addition to the value that we provide, it is the company’s culture that makes us stand out.

We ensure that people and companies get what we call “near and dear to their hearts” to arrive on time and in full and we fully believe in that, whether it is chickens, chainsaws, or even actual hearts as we also work with companies like Airspace in the critical cold chain space, handling organ transplants – livers, kidneys, heart etc.

Monitoring body parts like livers and kidneys that have to be delivered on time are critical, so we’re happy to be part of that culture of not only making sure that supply chain is headed in a better direction in 2022 and into 2023, but that we are doing something that matters, and we are helping people that need to get their shipments on time and in full.


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Hariesh Manaadiar
Hariesh Manaadiar
I am Hariesh Manaadiar, the Founder of Shipping and Freight Resource.. I have been in the dynamic shipping and freight industry for over three decades and have worked in several sectors.. I share my experiences and knowledge of the industry through this blog for those looking for help in the industry.. Stay subscribed for more free useful content about shipping, freight, maritime, logistics, supply chain and trade..


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