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Internet of Things helps NZ glass manufacturer disrupt the industry

By Ryan Morris-Reade
Tue 22 Mar 2022

The Internet of Things is helping New Zealand glass manufacturer AGP disrupt the industry with four-day supply delivery.

Architectural Glass Products (AGP) has deployed Internet of Things (IoT) technology from Pollin8 and Thinxtra for around-the-clock tracking of its products and delivery trolleys to avoid the loss of assets and support its customer service.

Established in 2019, AGP was founded in response to market demand for high-quality glass that can be manufactured and delivered in short timeframes. 

The company has now become the nation's largest insulated glass units (IGUs) manufacturer. It operates a four-hectare, highly automated factory in Hautapu on Te Ika-a-Mui, NZ's North Island.

AGP owns over 1,750 purpose-built delivery trolleys, worth NZ$3,000 each, to transport its fragile, high-value glass products. AGP installed low-cost IoT tracking devices from Pollin8, which communicate over Thinxtra's 0G Network, to reduce the risk of these assets going missing and ensure their efficient return to the facility. This allows the manufacturer to track assets in real-time.

"Before AGP came to market, the time from ordering the glass to delivery was unpredictable, and customers never quite knew specifically when their products would arrive," says AGP's Gene Sanford. 

"We have completely disrupted the market by delivering in four days. Having Pollin8 and Thinxtras joint IoT solution in place from the start has proved central to our ability to deliver this level of service. Rather than resorting to the time-consuming task of counting assets on a map with a basic GPS solution, we have a dashboard and data that inform us which customer has the trolleys and how long they have had them, enabling us to take action to maintain our high service levels quickly.

"Our customer's cash flow can be improved significantly knowing their supply will be delivered on time; getting our assets back quickly to fulfil the next set of orders helps mitigate any knock-on effect that might impact them."

Pollin8's IoT devices are fixed to every AGP delivery trolley and record location data, including where GPS signals are unavailable. That information is transmitted over Thinxtra's national low-power wide-area network (LP WAN), known as the 0G Network, and provided to AGP in real-time through web and mobile applications in an easy-to-understand format.

"Although GPS based tracking solutions have been available for powered vehicles for decades, IoT has introduced the capability to track non-powered assets using devices with long battery life in an affordable manner and at scale," says Pollin8 CEO, Nick Pickering.

"That means we can provide AGP with not only around the clock tracking, but tailor the solution to its unique business requirements now and as its business expands in the future."

AGP selected Pollin8 and Thinxtra as the combined IoT solution is cost-effective, making it ideal for the manufacturer's plans for continued expansion. AGP also stands to save costs over time as the devices are battery-powered and last several years, reducing the need for replacement.

Nicholas Lambrou, CEO at Thinxtra, says that since its foundation, AGP has built a highly-sophisticated operation underscored by efficiency, which has catapulted the company in NZ. He says by bringing IoT into the mix from a very early stage, AGP gained granular visibility over the assets responsible for safely transporting its glass products to a fast-growing network of customers, avoiding unnecessary losses, and maintaining its customer service level agreements.

"The combination of IoT devices and data has created a tremendous opportunity to reduce carbon emissions," says New Zealand Green Investment Finance CEO, Craig Weise.

"With the ability to better track vehicles and assets, organisations can reduce their environmental impact by optimising fleets and routing to shorten time on the road while avoiding waste from lost assets. It's great to see Thinxtra continuing to partner with companies to help them achieve efficiencies and reduce their carbon impact."

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