Stay away from the Headlines! Cyber Security imperatives for the new normal

95% of cybersecurity breaches are caused by human error.” – Cybint

Rapid technology innovations on multiple fronts pose a complex challenge for those tasked with the security and availability of the IT infrastructure. On one hand, new devices such as mobile phones, smart screens, and IoT-enabled devices are deployed alongside computers. At the same time, IT policies allowing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) and WFH (Work From Home) has now become the norm, which has compounded the security problem

The result is a significant increase in the threat surface along with the number of points from where the IT infrastructure can be compromised. Of all recent developments, the now accepted shift to WFH and the use of personal devices pose the biggest challenge. IT Managers now need to take measures to secure both the device and the access point from where employees connect to the Corporate network. But how can they ensure the identity of the user accessing the system and adherence to security norms while employees work from the comfort of their homes?

Many Enterprises have become soft, yet lucrative targets for hackers as a result of the increased threat surface that is as yet unsecured. Trends indicate:

  • Remote workers will be soft targets for cybercriminals
  • As a side effect of remote workforces, cloud breaches will increase
  • Cybersecurity skills gap, specially in Enterprises, will remain an issue
  • Growth of always on, connected devices will increase network vulnerability

The invisible threat to your IT infrastructure

When employees worked in offices, businesses were able to ensure that only authorized staff accessed critical infrastructure, in part through physical security measures. It was easier to ensure that staff complied with the established security norms. But with employees now working from home, businesses have to rely purely on the users’ virtual identity and trust that users comply with security processes

The probability that malicious users can compromise the System, either from within the organization or by taking advantage of unsuspecting employees, is very real. CIOs need to assign equal emphasis on securing the IT infrastructure from external threats and from internal vulnerabilities.

Indicators of Internal Sabotage

Internal Sabotage is when employees have access to the company’s sensitive systems, information and use it for malicious purposes. Most internal saboteurs come in two flavors – Players and Pawns.

Players – Are aware of the crime and have malicious intent.  They are typically disgruntled employees or people who have joined the organization with a certain motive. Research has shown that most of these have some kind of personal predisposition and hence get into this.

Pawns –  Are typically employees who do not have a motive but unknowingly participate in the act.  They are typically people who are helpful and enthusiastic. Their intention to help people or their ignorance gets exploited. 

It is important to understand the persona and motivation of the “Players”:

  • Most internal attacks are triggered by an unfavourable event or condition at the workplace. The motive generally  is revenge.
  • Largely the attacks happen after office hours and outside the office premises via remote access. Perpetrators find comfort in not being surrounded by people  or physically being present in the workplace.
  • Generally, it’s likely that peers are aware of the sabotage, or at least observed a change in behaviour even if they are not aware of the concrete plan.
  • Most attacks are carried out through compromised or shared computer accounts.
  • In several cases these indicators are observed but ignored by organizations due to work load or carrying on the age-old way of doing things.

Preventive steps / actions

Combating internal vulnerabilities and securing the IT infrastructure requires a coordinated approach on 2 fronts. Organizations need to take advantage of the latest technologies to monitor, analyze and identify threats in advance. Simultaneously, people processes also need to be updated to address security topics for the remote working scenarios

HR Initiatives

Align all teams who are responsible for data security. This includes HR, IT, Maintenance, and Security. Make them aware and educate them on the increased threats and the latest trends in cyber attacks. Educate employees about internal attacks and encourage them to come up with a collaborative plan.

Clearly document and consistently enforce policies and controls. Ensure all the employees who have access to data are also educated about the new threats and vulnerabilities.

Encourage employees to provide insights on the new policies and take inputs for threats that could potentially come from within.

Incorporate malicious and unintentional insider threat awareness into periodic security training for all employees.

Disgruntled employees are a major source of internal threat. Create an HR plan to identify and track potentially disgruntled employees.

One of the best ways to track personal-level issues and problems is to use peers themselves. Create strong and well-crafted whistleblower policies where the employees feel empowered and responsible for the well-being of the company.

Technology-led Initiatives, Systems, and Approach

The Zero Trust model

Created by John Kindervag back in 2010 based on “never trust, always verify”. It is a concept where organizations should not automatically trust any research or individual inside or outside. It suggests a fresh start by revoking all access and providing access on a case-by-case basis with a clear understanding of the need. Technologies such as Identify and Access Management (IAM) and multi-factor authentication (MFA) are complementary to this approach.

It is just not enough to implement these technologies alone. There should also be a strategy and a clear SOP in place to manage the operations of the organization. However, this strategy is a little aggressive and requires a complete overhaul of the security policies and ongoing work which is not always practical and more often than not, could potentially break the system or make it brittle by holding it together with bandages.

Security Mesh

Most traditional security systems are designed and inspired by the castle-and-moat layout where all systems inside the moat are secured. This was an effective strategy in the traditional ecosystem. Over the years though, certain adaptations such as cloud and distributed workforce have created new challenges. Security mesh is one such approach where the focus is on securing every node of the network and not the traditional approach of building a boundary around the entire network.

Identity-first security and Identity Management

Identity management (IdM), also known as identity and access management (IAM) is the security practice that enables the right individuals or machines to access the right resources at the right times and for the right reasons.

Identities are the most vulnerable threat surface of every organization. Identity includes people, machines, IoT devices, and an active device or a group of devices on the network that needs to access a resource or service. Identity Security is one of the primary implementations of the Zero Trust model where all identities used in the organization are secured and managed using technology.

This enables providing fine-grained access to resources and data at an almost individual identity level and prevents Privileged Account Compromise. One example of this is the IAM security provided by AWS. Most solutions in this space span multiple technologies and platforms.

There are several products in the market that cater to this need:

  • IBM Security Verify Access
  • Cisco Identity Services Engine
  • CyberArk – Idaptive
  • Okta
  • OneLogin – Access

Remote worker Endpoint Security

With remote work becoming the new normal, securing remote access nodes poses new challenges especially with them being present outside the firewall. This problem is further compounded with infrastructure moving to the Cloud.

Breach and attack simulation

Is a continuous fire drill performed typically by independent vendors where they simulate sophisticated attacks similar to techniques used by cybercriminals to find vulnerabilities and report the same. 

Cloud security breaches

Refers to the compromising of data or nodes on cloud infrastructure. With more companies moving to the cloud, this has only snowballed in the past few years. Most of the data breaches can be attributed to configuration errors, IAM permission errors, re-use of identity. 

Best practices to reduce these vulnerabilities are

  1. Encrypt all data that is persistent (databases, logs, backup systems). Build this process in the QA checklist for all releases. Classify systems and data into sensitive and others. Ensure that sensitive data is secured and encrypted
  2. Prevent re-use of resource identities in the infrastructure and ensure each identity’s permissions are allotted on a need basis. Use tools like Centrify, Okta and CyberArk to manage these permissions.
  3. Routine audits on identity permissions, firewalls and cloud resources can help prevent these breaches. 

Securing your infrastructure

Over the years as companies have moved to the cloud, we have seen only an increase in cyber attacks.  With remote working becoming commonplace,  the line between internal and external attacks has blurred.  It is better to preempt the company’s defenses than be a victim.  Get in touch with us for an inside on how you could secure your company’s business and infrastructure. 

Want to know more? Contact us now

Top 5 Trends in the Logistics Industry to Look Out for in 2021

Logistics has been around for ages and has undergone major transformations time and again. With new advancements in technology, it continues to stretch its horizons. The burgeoning eCommerce sector has further propelled its demand. The logistics market globally is expected to touch $12,975.64 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 6.5% for the forecast period 2020 to 2027.

Supply chain optimization technology companies Locus and Shippo recently announced $50 million in funding to expand geographically and invest in additional technology enhancements for last-mile optimization as eCommerce continues to grow globally. The eCommerce sales surged in the first quarter of 2021 by 39 percent compared to the first quarter of 2020, while the US domestic parcel market is expected to touch 100 million packages per day by 2023.

With logistics automation, IoT-enabled connected devices, and tech-driven logistics services coming into play, it’s safe to assume we are in for some significant changes in the industry. But then, change is not always bad because it brings opportunity too. In the current scenario, it has ushered in new business models and greater customer expectations. Amazon and many others are already putting customers into the habit of expecting same-day delivery. Needless to say, fast, flawless service has now become an industry standard.

There is no denying technology and changing times have sparked new trends that are all set to shape the future of transportation and logistics. While companies like Locus are leveraging technology solutions to improve visibility and on-time performance, those like FedEx are leveraging blockchain to increase their competitiveness. So let’s look at the top 5 trends that are forcing logistics companies to adjust their sail.

1. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML)

According to a McKinsey survey, AI can help enterprises maximize their gains by more than 50 percent a year. Not surprising then, all forward-thinking organizations are now eager to adopt AI technologies. AI and ML can address problems early on and propose solutions that can help tide over challenges and improve operational efficiency. AI algorithms with the help of ML can help companies address demand fluctuations effectively. They help reduce operating costs, plan supply chain processes, and bring intelligence to administrative tasks to accelerate data-based processes. AI and ML are improving every aspect of warehousing operations, thus increasing profits. For instance, AI helps them access critical information, while machine learning helps them make sense of this information to predict and track trends and make smarter business decisions.

2. Internet of Things (IoT)

IoT sensor technology and connected IoT devices have simplified logistics chores to a great extent. From tracking shipments and inventory to vehicles and equipment, just about everything is easily accessible thanks to IoT. Modern enterprises now rely on IoT-powered container management to increase fuel efficiency, ensure preventative maintenance, and enable real-time monitoring. Drones and self-driving automated vehicles come with IoT sensors to ensure timely deliveries.
IoT startups and logistics companies are joining hands to adopt a proactive approach to container operations. Hapag-Lloyd, for instance, collaborated with Globe Tracker to come up with Hapag-Lloyd LIVE that offers powerful features like real-time GPS location, temperature information, and power-off alerts. With its fleet of around 100,000 containers equipped to serve better, this initiative will ensure enhanced supply chain transparency.

Juan Carlos Duk, Managing Director Global Commercial Development at Hapag-Lloyd, elaborates, “Customers expect more reliable supply chains, so the industry needs to change and invest sufficiently. It is imperative that we understand and fulfill our customers’ needs faster than our competitors. Inviting our customers to further shape our real-time monitoring products right from the beginning will allow them to receive products that are tailor-made for their needs – while giving us a chance to deliver the best possible service at the same time.”

3. Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)

While sensors continue to hold an important place in cargo ships, trains, and alarm systems for tracking and monitoring purposes, tags or sensors are also placed on products enabled by RFID technology. Data is sent via radio waves to be processed for tracking inventory. This is a popular labor-saving technique that allows businesses to scan tags, barcodes, and labels to get information pertaining to their containers. RFID tags have been used increasingly in the apparel sector, among many others.

The logistics industry is now leveraging RFID to get real-time visibility of goods, reduce errors, plan product locations in warehouses, and even measure temperatures in case of chemicals and medicines to ensure that the right storage requirements are met. RFID systems can pinpoint the exact location in real-time, giving logistics managers a bird’s eye view on trucks, pallets, and inventory to see things exactly the way they are across the supply chain. In sudden events or unforeseen circumstances, RFID systems work proactively by changing a delivery route.

4. EDI/API integrations

Both EDI (electronic data interchange) and API (application programming interface) are crucial for logistics companies to integrate data across communication channels. APIs, however, bring more power and flexibility to enable companies to exchange data with cloud-based apps and other digital ecosystem systems seamlessly. API integrations can be used to connect eCommerce stores with fulfillment centers to meet consumer demands successfully when same-day or next-day deliveries are becoming so popular.
Modern businesses are now exploring new possibilities by integrating EDI and API rather than choosing one over the other. They serve as a smarter solution for those who wish to modernize but are reluctant to give up on their traditional EDI solutions. In fact, the allure of an integrated platform is simply impossible to resist. It allows companies to upgrade their legacy systems and evolve into an environment that facilitates end-to-end visibility to conduct business rapidly.

5. Disruptive technologies

Technology adoption in warehouse automation globally is expected to grow from 8 percent in 2019 to 45 percent by 2030. Supply chain and logistics companies worldwide are accelerating digital transformation initiatives to make their operations more responsive. Disruptive technologies are now taking over every sphere of logistics, positively impacting businesses and those who run them.

83 percent of those participating in a survey by MHI in collaboration with Deloitte believed digital supply chains would become the predominant model in just five years. Says John Paxton, CEO of MHI, “Supply chain resilience has never been more important. Companies that made investments in digital technologies prior to the pandemic were more prepared and able to adapt, survive, and even thrive during this disruption. They will also be ready when the next crisis inevitably hits.”

Some of the top technologies that are making waves and helping organizations brave new storms include:

Blockchain – Relatively new but extremely powerful, blockchain is helping industry leaders induce transparency into their business. It facilitates safe transactions through an irrefutable decentralized ledger system and ensures quicker approvals and clearance. Blockchain with its trustless peer-to-peer network increases efficiency, reduces human error, and prevents fraud. For companies that are committed to enforcing digital initiatives, blockchain should be on the cards.

Robotics – Robotics play a significant role in increasing the speed, productivity, and accuracy of supply chain processes while ensuring that human jobs stay intact. Rather than replacing humans, they play a collaborative role to increase overall efficiency. For instance, collaborative robots offer assistance to humans in picking up, packing, and placing goods as required. On the other hand, autonomous mobile robots can help pick up goods and transport them to storage facilities. There are software robots that can do mundane, repetitive tasks to allow human workers more time to focus on chores that need human intervention. Logistics companies are leveraging Robotic Process Automation (RPA) for managing simple clerical tasks in areas like order management and after-sales service to reduce overhead costs and eliminate human error.

Related: Automated pricing operations powered by RPA helped a leading 3PL improve its revenue by 40%

Predictive analytics – Predictive analytics adoption, which currently stands at 31 percent, is expected to grow to 79 percent in the next 3-5 years. A good 43 percent of respondents plan to up their spending on predictive and prescriptive analytics to more than $ 10 million. Predictive analytics drives supply chain companies towards resiliency, helping them manage inventory, maintenance, pricing strategies, and forecasts.

Predictive analytics helps choose faster routes based on traffic, distance, weather, fuel consumption, and vehicle condition. It also helps anticipate maintenance of equipment and vehicles to minimize downtime. It forecasts demand accurately across any logistics network using historical data and market analysis data. It also helps companies adjust their prices based on need. Demand forecasts also help supply chain managers maintain an optimal level of inventory to ensure that demand is met at reduced costs by storing stock at appropriate distribution centers.

Cloud Technology – Software-as-a-service products hosted in public clouds are now a given, considering public cloud solutions are easier to implement. They allow logistics companies to leverage pay-per-use models, thereby necessitating low capital investment. Companies do not have to pay for the hefty cost of maintaining the IT infrastructure and yet get the security and scalability that the cloud offers.

Logistics companies are now leveraging cloud integrations to collect data from management systems, collaborate, and communicate to build process efficiencies and garner better business outcomes. Cloud-integrated logistics is not confined to time or space and gives greater freedom and accessibility that we desperately need today.

Sharpen your digital edge with Trigent

Trigent, with its decades of experience in the logistics sector and a process-driven approach, has been helping supply chain leaders and their ecosystem partners respond intelligently to market disruptions. Our technology experts help create lasting value by giving you keen insights into market trends and empowering you to adopt the latest innovations. Our solutions are custom-made to help you manage diverse aspects of transportation and logistics with amazing ease.

Call us today to book a business consultation.

References

Can Salesforce IoT Cloud Fill the Customer Experience Gap?

With the onset of the pandemic, organizations worldwide fast-tracked their digital transformation endeavors overhauling their internal tech stack and data capabilities. An immediate need to move physical operations online largely propelled the process. From closing sales deals over business dinners, we had quickly moved to engaging with clients in digital spaces. Among the many challenges the pandemic ushered in, the one that daunted every organization was ensuring a stellar customer experience against all odds.

Salesforce known for its cutting-edge solutions has been consistently deploying emerging innovative technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) to empower them. IoT is driving business growth by enabling real-time management of critical systems across industries. It comes as no surprise that the global IoT cloud platform market is all set to cross USD 5262.7 million by 2025.

The high demand for automation across sectors has contributed to the growth of the IoT-connected machines market. By 2027, the global IoT connected machines market is predicted to touch USD 1.3 trillion with North America holding a dominant position with its 2019 revenues standing at USD 91 billion.

Salesforce is helping enterprises combat modern challenges in a digital-first selling world with solutions that can help them soar and serve their customers better.

Explains Warren Wick, EVP AMER Commercial Sales and Chief Revenue Officer, Sales Cloud, “Over the past year, we held more than six million calls with customers to understand what they needed to be successful as they worked to transform their business with more urgency than ever before. We’ve reimagined Sales Cloud to guide every company as they rethink the digital sales experience, from leads to coaching to processing revenue.”

Enterprises are now generating 21% more sales leads every day in 2021 as compared to the previous year thanks to Salesforce. There are several success stories to tell when it comes to Salesforce and the many organizations it has been helping worldwide to drive growth and offer a better customer experience. With IoT Cloud, Salesforce is also helping them bridge the customer experience gap. We will tell you how.

The IoT edge from Salesforce

IoT is an ecosystem; one where physical objects are connected across geographies through an IP address that connects them via the Internet. The devices connect, communicate, and help users come up with real-time insights and analytics to improve business outcomes. Salesforce has been offering IoT services through Salesforce IoT Cloud, Salesforce IoT explorer, and Salesforce Einstein services, to facilitate data collection and analysis.

As per a survey conducted by Forbes Insights in collaboration with Intel involving 700 executives from diverse industries, it was observed that practically all the industries had witnessed significant improvements in several areas including customer experience.

Salesforce IoT Cloud connects devices, apps, sensors, software, etc. to collect contextual data and give a better understanding of the customer journey. This enables enterprises to engage with customers and help them better with proactive customer support. While many have been investing in IoT adoption, their success rate varies greatly. But those who have leveraged the Salesforce platform have been able to integrate the data obtained from IoT into their CRM systems to reimagine the way they serve, sell, and promote. Most importantly, it has helped them take a step further towards their customers closing the experience gap in the most meaningful manner.

Customer experience has always been looked upon as a critical factor for enhancing customer satisfaction, brand loyalty, and revenues. Salesforce understands this well and offers a world of benefits to its users. The top ones include:

Seamless connectivity between devices and users

The profiles of customers are linked to the devices they use and this creates seamless connectivity to streamline operations and respond to events in real time. Tesla’s self-driving cars are a classic case in point and set an example as to how much you can achieve with IoT.

General Motors with its crisis assistance services came as a savior during hurricane Dorian wherein it could help those trying to escape the hurricane with real-time direction, free calls, routing to shelter and basic amenities, an in-vehicle WiFi hotspot, and much more.

Real-time analysis based on context

Without customer context, it would be impossible to analyze past behaviors and take remedial action in real time. Machine learning plays a big role in providing it. Data collected from diverse locations and devices give a realistic picture of what’s happening and where taking into account customer history, service history, and location.

Opportunities to serve better

With so much information at hand, you get to know exactly how the products are performing, whether they are due for maintenance, are there any new updates, is the warranty about to expire, etc. Salesforce IoT Cloud helps you manage all of this with the help of predefined rules that are orchestrated based on performance metrics.

The Sales and Support teams are instantly notified if the product fails to perform as per the expected standard. This kind of data helps in predicting behaviors while providing opportunities to enhance customer retention.

Offers a low-code, user-friendly platform

The fact that Salesforce employs low-code ensures that enterprises don’t have to recruit dedicated staff or a data scientist to manage IoT-related processes. A few clicks and you get all the information you need.

With the right triggers and responses in place, IoT takes away the stress and sends data to relevant platforms. A simple act like generating a lead form for a customer whose product is about to fail can have a positive impact on the customer experience while ensuring a substantial reduction in costs.

A win-win for all

A proactive approach strengthened by the extraordinary capabilities of Salesforce IoT Cloud enables you to understand your customers and engage with them in more meaningful ways. Salesforce allows you to export your IoT data in whichever format you want. It is easy to integrate into diverse business environments and there are multiple use cases that are currently being powered by IoT.

Salesforce Einstein with the help of AI technologies helps teams across departments like sales, marketing, and IT become more predictive and proactive when it comes to offering a stellar customer experience. Salesforce IoT Cloud empowers enterprises with IoT-driven tools and data-driven solutions to build trust and fill the customer service gap efficiently.

As Victor Abelairas, GM of Tridium Innovation at Honeywell Connected Enterprise explains, “Our sellers were able to continue their sales process virtually without skipping a beat. But more importantly, we were able to empower the rest of the company to stay engaged with the sales team and know what was happening with customers at all times, without having the day-to-day interaction in the office that they were used to. At the end of the day, we want to provide a better customer experience by understanding our customers more holistically than we would have otherwise.”

Deliver a better customer experience with Trigent

Our team of Salesforce consultants can help you integrate Salesforce IoT Cloud within your business environment to help you respond faster and serve better.

They understand exactly what it takes to enhance productivity and improve revenues. They can help you understand the many nuances of Salesforce IoT Cloud right from IoT implementation to customization to create engaging customer experiences.

Call us today to book a consultation and discover infinite possibilities with Salesforce IoT Cloud adoption.

Enable Transparent Tracking with NextGen Technologies for Cold Chain Logistics

Even as globalization has made the world a smaller place, the physical separation of the different regions still remains an important reality, especially when it pertains to the movement of goods. The greater this physical separation, greater are the odds of the consignment getting damaged.

This is even more true when it relates to the transportation of perishable goods. Hence, efficient cold chains have become an essential part of the modern supply chain to transport vital, sensitive cargo over great distances and through diverse climatic conditions.

For the range of supplies labeled as perishables, particularly pharmaceuticals and food (produces), quality expires with time as they maintain chemical reactions, which can mostly be alleviated with lower temperatures. Cold chain logistics have evolved with the growing demand for temperature-controlled logistics to transport consumable goods over great distances safely.

It takes coordination and time to move a shipment efficiently. Every delay can have negative consequences. To ensure that the loads do not become compromised or damaged at any point during this process, businesses in the food, medical and pharmaceutical industries are increasingly banking on the cold chain.

The challenges of cold chain transportation

In addition to the usual risk elements that plague our regular supply chains, cold chain logistics has unique issues, such as rising freight costs, product sensitivity, and growing regulatory obstacles.

The recent reports of over 12,000 vaccine doses spoiling due to fluctuations in the truck temperature are evidence of some of the main challenges faced by the industry today. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, the majority of 21 shipments of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine sent to Michigan were unusable as they got too cold during transit.

The incident has, however, brought clarity to the fact that fleet managers need a better way to access and manage real-time information. The need for real-time data to manage deliveries with efficiency and precision is ever increasing. The insights drawn from this data can help fleet managers, drivers, and businesses work together towards the best outcomes.

The numbers linked to food recalls and losses are also staggering. In 2008, a single recall cost the food companies over $500 mn in settlements. Also, over $161 billion worth of losses were reported in 2010 due to food waste. A precise process to track and trace processes with new technologies such as blockchain, IoT, big data and AI can reduce or potentially eliminate waste and recalls. This can be done by ensuring safe and well-prepared supply chain operations, advanced disposal mechanisms for contaminated food batches, and timely deliveries.

The need for supply chain visibility

Supply chain visibility is crucial to both companies and customers today. According to popular research, 94% of customers are more likely to be devoted to a freight company that offers complete supply-chain transparency. Also, about 39% of consumers say they would willingly switch to a more transparent company if offered the chance.

This trend has some big brands implementing technology such as Blockchain to trace and track every activity across their supply chain. Real-time tracking with RFID enables tracking of tagged objects, creates a system of connected devices that continuously transmit data about their location, product condition, and more.

Given the highly dynamic and unique nature of the cold chain challenges, fleet managers require technologies that have fast information processing capabilities. It should also be able to digest streams of data from million sources at the moment and also be agile enough to acclimate to evolving situations.

Digital Twin is a new, powerful software technique built upon in-memory computing. It has recently emerged with the ability to meet real-time data requirements and is cost-effective to implement, thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT). It helps fleet managers boost their situational awareness by identifying and tackling delivery challenges.

A logistics management system with real-time dashboards, timely reports, and better contextual information can make cold chain management and monitoring easier. Leveraging cloud-based systems equipped with real-time predictive analytics would help identify risk and provide opportunities to improve logistics efficiency.

Reducing cost with real-time cold chain monitoring

A well-run supply chain enhances customer service, saves money, and reduces transit time. The savings don’t come easy, though. They can only be accomplished through some digital transformation in the existing system. It requires some incremental improvement in processes along with a proactive risk-management approach.

Real-time monitoring can help logistics companies eliminate one of the most significant pain points of cold chain logistics – spoilage. Monitoring shipments in real-time and instantly flagging issues such as temperature excursions, hardware/coolant malfunctions, or deviations from handling protocols can help prevent damage in transit. 

While reducing spoilage with a better refrigeration system and managing transportation costs with multi-modal shipments is an option, this involves many hidden costs. Compliance mandates, labor, spare parts, weight, and several other factors contribute to the intricacies of maintaining the cold chain shipping costs.

The use of real-time data enables real-time analytics and response. It provides the opportunity to not only prevent cold chain risk but to eliminate it outright. It helps run a reliable and leaner cold chain taking off the weight of process and quality management with automation. 

The hybrid combination of all accessible data, constant connectivity, robust monitoring devices, and analytics that support data-driven improvements in logistics operations embodies the pinnacle of cold chain management and monitoring systems. Though small, real-time shipment process intervention and monitoring will be vital to your overall logistics efficiency plan.

Although it is logical to think of cost reductions from the bottom-up, the effort to evolve needs to be top-down. A digital transformation of your legacy system will help support the more extensive landscape for your business if it is used right, as in any tool.

Automate your cold chain logistics with Trigent

With a highly experienced team of technology experts having over decades of experience in TMS solutions, Trigent helps revamp your legacy systems to drive revenue and efficiency. We combine the best disruptive technologies, analytics, and trade intelligence to create custom-made solutions to overcome your supply chain challenges. 

We help our customers increase their market value and visibility with seamless integration of the latest technology solutions. Our solutions help you cater to diverse load requirements, optimize routing, market best rates, gather real-time location data, weather forecast & utilization of space, among others.

Build your next-gen cold chain logistics solutions with us. Call us today to book a business consultation.

Transportation and Logistics Go Places with RPA at the Helm

Tedious, repetitive tasks can put quite a drain on your time, especially when you would rather spend it on more meaningful activities. Take emails, for instance, you cannot do without them, you cannot ignore them, and there will be quite a few that will require you to prioritize and take action.

Sifting through the entire information to take only the necessary data to the operating system for crafting a response can be overwhelming especially when you would want to focus on important activities such as building relationships with customers or planning for business growth. Thankfully, after a successful run across industries including financial services, healthcare, and hospitality, Robotics Process Automation (RPA) has now made its debut in transportation and logistics.

RPA bots are easy to use and you can integrate them with your existing technology infrastructure even if the systems they work with do not integrate with one another. The fact that the global robotic process automation market size is expected to touch $13.74 billion by 2028 at a CAGR of 32.8% over the forecast period only makes it evident how eager enterprises are to adopt RPA.

Enterprises have always been on the lookout for ways and means to monitor costs and resources. RPA offers them just that, making its way across business departments and processes reducing human error, and amplifying throughput.

Some organizations have been hesitant to adopt RPA because they weren’t sure if their scale could support this technology. The capabilities that RPA brings along are however helping them realize its value and potential. No matter which industry we speak about, transportation and logistics form an integral part of their supply chain. Any improvement in business processes thus has a positive impact on all others.

It’s time we delved deeper into the benefits and use cases that make RPA the smartest solution out there for streamlining processes in transportation and logistics.

The RPA benefits

RPA offers several benefits when you put RPA at the helm of business processes. Jaguar Freight recently announced its decision of choosing RPA Labs for the documentation of its document processes.

Speaking about its decision, Simon Kaye, President, and CEO of Jaguar Freight elaborated, “We recently partnered with RPA Labs, who does a tremendous job automating a lot of the heavy lifting within our organization. They helped us in two areas – one is taking a lot of raw data from client documentation, commercial invoices, and packing lists, and populating that automatically in our system, where previously there was a fair amount of data entry, which caused a lot of errors and delays.”
Not just big enterprises, but even startups are now eagerly embracing the power of RPA to streamline their operations.

Some of the top benefits of leveraging RPA solutions include:

  • Time – Automation has always saved enterprises a lot of time, but RPA tools streamline tasks helping them further bring down the process cycle time significantly.
  • Accuracy – Due to the absence of manual intervention, RPA ensures high accuracy. Tasks performed are usually error-free and in the rare event that an error occurs, it can be found and fixed easily. This is possible because RPA-driven processes are recorded and easily retrieved.
  • Productivity – Higher accuracy ensures better work management. It helps enterprises align processes with their business goals ensuring productivity is at an all-time high.
  • Revenue – With reduced process cycle times and increased accuracy and productivity, enterprises are able to devote their time to grow their business and increase revenue.

To take a closer look at the different processes that benefit from RPA and understand how RPA plays a role in enhancing organizational efficiencies, let’s look at its applications.

Order processing and tracking

The one area that involves endless manual data entries and can improve significantly is order processing and tracking. It’s not just tedious and time-consuming but also very resource-intensive. Manual errors can prove to be extremely costly at this stage. RPA enables organizations to process orders efficiently. PRO numbers of shipments are picked up from a carrier’s website automatically via bots and loads are closed out in no time.

Tracking continues with the help of IoT sensors even after orders are processed and shipped. IoT sensors also ensure that products can be traced based on their last known location in case they get misplaced during transit. The rationale is to keep both employees and customers in the loop so that the status of shipments is known to all concerned at all times.

The RPA tool also sends out updates in the form of emails at regular intervals. This feature comes in handy when the transit period is too long. Customers also get plenty of time to schedule pick-up times based on the location of the product.

Inventory management

Another important task that comes under the domain of RPA in supply chain and logistics is that of inventory monitoring. After all, supply needs to be aligned with the demand for products and the expectations can be met only when you know exactly how many products are left and when new shipments are going to be needed.

RPA tools look into this aspect and send a notification to concerned employees about the number of products remaining and even order new products as required. Supply and demand planning is possible only when you are able to analyze diverse data from suppliers, customers, distributors, and your workforce. RPA can gather, store, and analyze data to help you tide over these challenges and maintain a steady supply.

Invoice management

Like order processing, invoice management also involves entering and processing a huge amount of data. With RPA tools, you can substantially reduce the stress of going through invoice documents and ensure error-free processing. In a typical business scenario in transport and logistics, orders are received, processed, and shipped in large numbers every day.

While it took days in the pre-RPA era to process invoices, RPA ensures that invoices are processed quickly and accurately, extracting only pertinent information to enable automatic payments. This helps businesses reduce the average handling time by 89% with 100% accuracy and achieve a resource utilization of 36%.

Report generation

You need reports for just about everything; be it for processing payments, gathering customer feedback, or managing shipments. When it comes to transportation, report generation assumes a whole new level especially when you are tracking movements from city to city, port to port. Often, it can get tiresome and challenging.

RPA helps you manage all your report-related chores with ease thanks to its ability to screen information. Minus the human intervention, RPA-generated reports are highly accurate. Modern enterprises combine the capabilities of RPA with Artificial Intelligence to generate precise reports and even make sense of them to offer actionable insights.

Communication and customer satisfaction

In a sector as busy and extensive as transportation, communication is the key to better relations and customer satisfaction. Customers need timely updates and the fact that multiple vendors and partners are divided by distance and time zones can sometimes pose challenges in communication. This is where RPA tools such as chatbots and auto-responders come into play.

They communicate, interact, and answer customer queries. They also push notifications as often as required to inform concerned authorities about order status or shipment delays or other related matters. This in turn ensures a high level of customer satisfaction. Given the stiff competition, it is the only way customers are going to keep coming back for more.

While old customers are happy to hang around, new customers will look forward to a long association thanks to RPA-enabled services. The best part about RPA tools is that they allow you to link information across stages and processes to have the right information necessary for providing efficient customer service and 24X7 support.

Take your business to new heights with Trigent

Trigent with its highly experienced team of technology experts is helping enterprises improve process cycle times and create new opportunities for increasing revenue. They can help you too with the right RPA tools and solutions to enhance process efficiencies and create better customer experiences.


Allow us to help you manage your workflows and add value with RPA. Call us today to book a business consultation.

Effective Predictive Maintenance needs strategic automation and human insight

New-age technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Internet of things (IoT), and predictive analytics are automating processes and augmenting human capabilities. Together, they set the stage for innovations in different sectors. Manufacturing is leveraging Predictive Maintenance (PdM) that takes preventive maintenance several notches higher.

PdM changes the approach from reactive to proactive maintenance, empowering enterprises to anticipate changes in the system and preemptively manage them. In other words, it helps enterprises predict and avoid machine failure and resultant downtimes. These analytics-led predictions optimize maintenance efforts and facilitate frictionless interdependence.

According to Deloitte, PdM increases equipment uptime by 10-20% and reduces overall maintenance costs and maintenance planning time by 5-10% and 20-50% respectively. With a CAGR of 25.2%, the global predictive maintenance market is set to grow from USD 4.0 billion in 2020 to 12.3 billion by 2025. The growth is fueled by the continued demand for reducing maintenance costs and downtime.

In the current Industry 5.0 environment, the role of maintenance has evolved from merely preventing downtimes of individual assets to predicting failures and creating synchrony between people, processes, and technologies. Predictive maintenance plays its part well, though it does bring along certain challenges that necessitate human intervention.

The PdM advantage

As mentioned earlier, predictive maintenance helps eliminate unplanned downtime and related costs. In an IoT-driven world where sensors, devices, systems, etc. are connected, McKinsey believes that the linking of physical and digital worlds could generate up to $11.1 trillion annually in economic value by 2025.

Maximized runtime also means better profits, happier customers, and greater trust. Predictive maintenance can ease logistics by choosing maintenance time slots outside of production hours or at a time when the maintenance personnel is available. It contributes to supply chain resilience, material costs savings, and increased machine lifespan.

However, PdM is only as good as the data it relies upon. Due to IoT technology, data comes from different sources and needs to be duly analyzed before it can be harnessed to make predictions.

The PdM limitations

We need to consider several elements to translate the information PdM provides into positive outcomes. For instance, depending on usage and maintenance history, it may advise you to replace a certain part or component. But this information can lead to further questions. You may need help in deciding which brand and vendor to consider, whether replacement of the component is a good option, or would it make better sense to replace the equipment entirely.

The forecast is often prescriptive and based on statistical models. While optimizing the operational efficiency of a particular line of business, PdM often fails to consider how it impacts other lines. For instance, when it suggests particular equipment is due for maintenance, it may not be able to offer advice as to where the production/processing needs to be shifted when it’s down. The value it offers will therefore be shaped by how decision-makers respond to predictive data.

Data quality and coverage are critical to make predictive maintenance work for the organization. For data to be suitably collected, integrated, interpreted, and transformed, we need dashboards, notification systems, and a bunch of other things to get started. This requires considerable research and planning to go into its implementation for it to start providing the insights we need.

The key lies in the way you respond

Decision-makers typically respond to predictive data with either hypothesis-driven or data-driven responses. The former stems from past business experiences and determines the plan based on a limited scope of response actions. Data-driven responses, on the other hand, aim to find solutions based on real-time business realities and consider several optimization scenarios to determine the way forward.

In contrast to hypothesis-driven decision-making, optimization ensures that all possible paths are explored and evaluated, relevant constraints are taken into consideration, and cross-functional interdependencies are looked into. A workable scenario based on business realities is thus created with no scope for purely intuitive responses.

Despite the analytics-driven insights, predictive maintenance is incomplete without human judgment. Smart decisions come from the ability to visualize the physical and financial outcomes before enforcing them. High-risk situations might arise, and thus they are best left to human discretion.

A predictive maintenance model for Industry 5.0

Manufacturers need clarity on several variables to understand the implications of failure. A false alarm triggered due to inaccurate predictions can result in a lot of unwarranted chaos and anxiety. However, a missed detection might often prove to be a costly error, sometimes resulting in loss of humans and property. Therefore, while understanding variables, they need to first know how often the variable behaviors occur on the factory floor. Strong domain knowledge along with solid data based on previous failures and scenarios is the key to understanding a machine.

Prediction accuracy will improve if we have adequate data on the behavior of machines when they are very close to failure. Only skilled personnel can determine this; some data sets, despite being important, are harder to collect and yet very critical for decision-making.

If we need data on a machine that breaks just once in a year or two, we need to work closely with machine makers who already possess a large pool of relevant data. Alternatively, we may choose to create a digital or a simulation model to create relevant data sets. The most expensive failures are usually the ones we never expect and hence relevant testing for different scenarios should also be considered.

Looking ahead

The way forward into Industry 5.0 is to create a predictive model that uses analytics, machine learning, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) in conjunction with human insights.

Manufacturers are now relying on predictive models to facilitate smart manufacturing as they struggle with quality issues more often than machine failures. Unusual temperatures, random vibrations, are all telltale signs that a machine may be in dire need of maintenance. Simple data sets can be a good starting point as we scale up with the right predictive maintenance solution. But, in the end, it’s the human insight that can give predictive maintenance its winning streak.

Predict business success with Trigent

At Trigent, we are helping organizations benefit from Industry 5.0 We help them build value with predictive analytics and rise above maintenance challenges. With the right guidance, we help them foster the man-machine symbiosis to harness new levels of operational efficiencies.

Call us today for a consultation. We’d be happy to help with insights, solutions, and the right approach to predict better business outcomes.

Understanding the Concept of Anywhere Operations and Its Scope

The pandemic has had a lasting impact on many things including the way we work. We have all transitioned into the digital world for virtually everything. The massive shift has posed infrastructure challenges to organizations urging them to re-examine traditional methods of working and enable a ‘work from anywhere’ culture. It has also become important for enterprises to use their resources wisely both during and after the pandemic. They are now pulling up their socks to prepare for the evolving needs of hybrid workspaces in the New Normal.

What they truly need is Anywhere Operations – an IT operating model Gartner believes 40% of organizations would have applied already by the end of 2023 to offer a blended virtual and physical experience to employees as well as customers. It is garnering a lot of attention since the time it has come into being.

So what is Anywhere Operations after all and how does it impact enterprises? Let’s find out.

The concept

Remote working has become a reality that will continue even in the future. In a recent survey by Gartner, 47% of the respondents said they intended to allow employees to work remotely full time. Explains Elisabeth Joyce, Vice President of advisory in the Gartner HR practice, “The question now facing many organizations is not how to manage a remote workforce, but how to manage a more complex, hybrid workforce. While remote work isn’t new, the degree of remote work moving forward will change how people work together to get their job done.”

As boundaries between real and virtual environments continue to blur, enterprises need to ensure ubiquitous access to corporate resources. There is greater dependability on digital tools and the resilience of enterprises will largely depend on how well they deploy them. Enterprises will have to adopt a more serious approach towards the transformation of their IT infrastructure – be it devices & apps or remote IT support and cybersecurity.

It is imperative that businesses deploy management solutions that allow teams to work in tandem and continue to enjoy the same accessibility irrespective of the location they log on from. Anytime Operations, clearly, is inevitable and the need to match pace with the fluid working style of today will push it towards mass adoption. Remote work however is more about the workforce whereas Anywhere Operations includes customers into the mix so that customers are also able to connect and interact for all their needs any time from wherever they are.

When implemented correctly, Anywhere Operations will serve as the perfect model for building resilience and flexibility.

Anywhere Operations supports:

  • Remote work
  • Remote deployment of products/services
  • Business partners, stakeholders, and customers

It encompasses productive business operations and its core objective is to ensure that these operations can be managed effectively from literally ‘anywhere’.

Anywhere Operations is not just an enabler of work from home, online customer support, or remote deployment of products/services but an organizational paradigm that offers value across multiple areas. These include:

Collaboration and Productivity

The need to attain the pre-pandemic level of collaboration and productivity has led to the emergence of virtual offices replete with task management tools, meeting solutions, club office suites, digital whiteboards, and video conferencing platforms. This enables employees to see each other, interact, conduct meetings, assign tasks, share ideas in real time, review space occupancy and usage, etc.

Remote assistance is crucial to enable sharing of digital replicas of devices and maintain real-time analytics. While it was easier to visit the client’s office in the past, the need to implement XR tools is being felt today to facilitate better collaboration around tangible objects and help clients in this period of social distancing.

Secure Remote Access

Development teams and clients are provided secure remote access via cloud solutions powered by firewalls to ensure safe access to the virtual environment. In order to fortify the security measures, ways and means are being explored to replace traditional VPN for users operating in multiple time zones.

Identity & Access Management (IAM) solutions that enable multi-factor authentication, passwordless authentication, Zero Trust models, and Secure Access Service Edge (SASE) are now being applied to ensure secure access to data and applications, anywhere, any time. Cybersecurity mesh is also being considered by modern enterprises. While ensuring timely responses and a more modular security approach, it makes identity the security perimeter.

Cloud and edge infrastructure

Organizations had already started discovering the power of automation and how certain tasks that were being performed manually needed immediate automation. In order to ensure 24/7 secure access, ubiquitous cloud migration was important.

Distributed cloud now has become the future of cloud computing and provides edge cloud for a nimble environment. Edge computing provides an opportunity for enterprises to collect a huge amount of data from various locations separated by distance and time zones to create efficiencies and bring down operating costs. It ensures that cloud computing resources are closer to the location where data and business activity is.

Project management and product development tools along with CRM tools used by sales and marketing departments are therefore being moved to the cloud. Enterprises are shifting infrastructure to cloud to ensure governance and accessibility for business continuity. Apart from flexibility and security, cloud solutions offer cost benefits with respect to smart repository usage.

Enterprises are looking at integrating IoT and 5G technologies to catalyze connectivity beyond imagination. The ability of IoT to allow back and forth flow of data makes it critical for dynamic business environments of today and will continue to drive edge-computing systems. Cloud and edge infrastructure will help avoid latency and gain real-time insights. Cloud and edge architectures will minimize time lags in data processing to help industries perform computing tasks closer to where data is gathered quickly.

AI edge processing is now being leveraged extensively for applications that have sub-millisecond (ms) latency requirements and helps circumvent bandwidth, privacy, and cost concerns. Enterprises are now critically evaluating their API platforms that serve as the essential building block on the road to successful digital transformations.
Google’s recently rolled out Apigee X is a case in point.

Says James Fairweather, chief innovation officer at Pitney Bowes, “During these uncertain times, organizations worldwide are doubling-down on their API strategies to operate anywhere, automate processes, and deliver new digital experiences quickly and securely,”
Automation to support remote operations

Automation will be at the helm of operations in a bid to minimize human intervention. Enterprises are now keen on automating tasks that can help make better business decisions.

Enterprises are increasingly using AIOps platforms that connect ITSM and ITOM to deliver high-value insights that can predict outages, prioritize events, and get to the root of event patterns to fix them. The modern AIOps platforms help a great deal for discovery, endpoint automation, and self-enablement. Zero-touch is also being deployed for automatic provisioning and configuration of devices without manual involvement.

Quantification of the digital experience

Dubbed as ‘total experience’, digital experiences are a culmination of customer experience, employee experience, and user experience that can be tracked by mapping the EX and CX journeys. Quantification concerns the entire interaction from the time the first contact was made up to the present day. As interactions get more virtual, distributed, and mobile, total experience will give enterprises the edge to reach new frontiers of growth and make technological leaps.

Enterprises need to offer better technology to support the hybrid workforce while supporting the buying behaviors of customers. Just offering a great customer experience is not enough, and effort must be made to monitor and respond to experiences in real time to strengthen the relationship with employees as well as customers.

Achieve Anywhere Operations with Trigent

With decades of experience in turning insights into strategies and a sophisticated suite of products to drive your business, we can help your organization usher in a much-needed technology transformation for achieving Anywhere Operations seamlessly. We can be your trusted partner in delivering Enterprise IT solutions.

Talk to our experts for a business consultation.

Four disruptive technologies for Banking in 2019

In the brave new world of banking and financial services, technology has become the key to a locker filled with goodies. As a result, it is not impossible to imagine a future where opening a bank or a financial company is as simple as connecting an appliance. In that world, a robot could guide an investor on the best possible options or you could walk into a bank manned by robot tellers. PWC’s report titled ‘Financial Services Technology 2020 and Beyond: Embracing disruption‘ envisages a future where the impossible will become reality. While this list may seem a little too futuristic, banks and financial services organizations are already feeling the tremors of new technology waves that are disrupting existing business models to pave the way for faster, smarter, cheaper operations.

Here are a few emerging technology disrupters:

Distributed ledger technology (DLT)

Algorithms are enabling the collaborative creation of digital distribution ledgers that are far smarter than their paper counterparts. Distributed ledgers are asset databases that can be shared across multiple devices, sites, and geographies where participants can own identical copies of the ledger. Used for various purposes, these ledgers are stored in cryptographic forms and accessed with electronic keys and signatures. Participants, based on rule-based permissions, can update these ledgers, whenever required.

Accelerating change in financial services through Digital Transformation

Distributed ledgers are beneficial to banks as they can reflect changes on a real-time basis. As they are extremely secure, they prevent unauthorized entries, making corruption virtually impossible. As a technology solution, distributed ledgers reside on top of existing applications. Within the field of distributed ledgers, block chain is one more method of distributed ledgers. However, block chain is restricted to a sequential model while DLs do not necessarily fit into a sequential pattern when distributing ledgers. Distributed ledgers may be a good first step forward with immediate benefits for the banking sector.

Artificial Intelligence

Robo-advisor – Fancy though the name sounds, robo-advisors have been around for over a decade. However, it is only in the recent past that this concept has gained popularity. Robo-advisor is an algorigthm-based AI for automated financial advice. This concept has become especially popular for small investors with limited investment options. However, even in cases of larger investments requiring complex decision-making, robo advisors help to automate activities such as tax losses and rebalancing. Robo advisors are useful for single investment goals, and are very good with automated portfolio rebalancing.

As an add-on service, banks can provide value-added services to customers using robo-advisors. Customers can, thus, benefit from customized financial plans and automated investing. One of the key advantages of robo-advisors is the ability to negate human-made calculation mistakes. Uncolored by human emotions, robo-advisors rely purely on algorithms and numbers, reducing chances of errors in investment decisions. In the competitive world of banking, robo-advisors can combine the derive intelligence on existing customers to offer customized investment plans that are beneficial to banks and customers.

e-KYC and identity

Know Your Customer (KYC) is a process adopted by businesses who offer products and services to traders, customers and agents. It is also a process followed by financial services organizations to adhere to regulatory requirements and also to target segment customers. Till recently KYC was a physical activity which required human intervention. While several organizations continue to rely on physical KYC, some forward thinking financial institutions are incorporating eKYC as a procedure for information and verification on customers. By minimizing paperwork and manual labor, eKYC presents a huge opportunity for banks to reduce operational costs without compromising security and information. eKYC reduces paper dependencies thereby helping to avoid identity thefts, and eliminating forgery. Banks can adopt eKYC as it is extremely secure. In the future, eKYC would be the first step forward in a world of secure, paperless transactions.

Cybersecurity

According to the 2017 True Cost of Fraud Study from LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, financial services companies earning at least half of their revenues through digital channels incur up to $3.04 in costs for every dollar lost to cyber-fraud. However, as per the same survey, banks that adopted a multi-layered approach to cybersecurity experience less than 50 percent of the average losses attributed to lapse in cyber security. To ensure cybersecurity, banks are leaning on digital identity intelligence, advanced behavioral analysis, clear-box machine learning technics and integrated risk based authentication. With over one billion new internet users entering the field on an annual basis, the fear of cyber threats can be extremely overwhelming. However, digital identity-based authentication is helping to control fears while providing a real boost to this industry.

To summarize, technology disruptors are providing opportunities and challenges to the banking sector. While challenges such as data breaches, cyber attacks and compromised data will be a fear factor, banks that want to meet the heightened needs of customers should plunge ahead and adapt digital technologies for competitive success.