On this episode of the IoT For All Podcast, Roambee’s CEO, Sanjay Sharma, joins Ryan Chacon to discuss building end-to-end supply chain visibility. Sanjay begins by introducing himself and his company along with use cases they are working on. He then discusses the role IoT plays on the supply chain and how new technology developments have furthered that. Sanjay then focuses on the food supply chain and the advances that have been made. The conversation then moves more high level with a discussion around compliance regulations, challenges in the industry, and advice for companies starting their IoT journey.
Sanjay Sharma is a strategic thought leader with an impressive 17+ years of entrepreneurial experience building technology startups from the ground up. As CEO of Roambee, he is responsible for leading the company’s vision, driving its worldwide business growth, and increasing its value. Sanjay has co-founded and led two successful Silicon Valley technology startups – KeyTone Technologies, which was acquired by Global Asset Tracking Ltd, and Plexus Technologies, which became an ICICI Ventures portfolio company. He has also been a part of the engineering teams at EMC, Schlumberger, and NASA. Sanjay has a bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering from the University of Bombay and a Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from South Dakota State University.
Interested in connecting with Sanjay? Reach out on Linkedin!
Roambee offers better supply chain visibility on demand for on-time, in-full, in-condition delivery of shipments and assets anywhere in the world. 300+ enterprises are improving customer experience, service levels, product quality, cash cycles, business efficiencies, sustainability, and automating logistics with Roambee’s real-time insights & foresight. Over 50 are among the top 100 global companies in the Pharma, Food, Electronics, Chemicals, Automotive, Packaging & Containers, and Logistics sectors. Roambee’s innovative AI-powered platform, and end-to-end monitoring solutions, deliver curated and highly accurate supply chain signals built on item-level, firsthand IoT sensor data and non-sensor inputs. The outcome is better multimodal ETAs, OTIF deliveries, 80%+ cold chain compliance and more, including 4X+ ROI on supply chain assets by optimizing utilization and inventory levels.
Key Questions and Topics from this Episode:
(01:35) Introduction to Sanjay and Roambee
(03:57) How IoT has played a role in the supply chain
(06:19) How has the evolution of technology affected the supply chain
(09:05) How the technologies play a role in the food supply chain
(13:40) Meeting compliance regulations
(18:12) Biggest challenges in the supply chain space
(20:10) Advice on companies starting their IoT journey
(23:24) Legacy systems getting in the way
– [Voice Over] You are listening to the IoT For All Media Network.
– [Ryan] Hello everyone. And welcome to the episode of the IoT For All Podcast and no more publication and resource for the internet of things. I’m your host, Ryan Chacon. If you are watching this on YouTube, we truly appreciate if you give this video a thumbs up and subscribe if you haven’t already done so. And if you’re listening to us on a podcast or directory somewhere, please subscribe, so get the latest episodes as soon as they are out. All right, on today’s episode, we have Sanjay Sharma the CEO of Roambee. Roambee is a company I’m sure many of you heard of before. They offer better supply chain visibility on demand for on time in full in condition delivery of shipments and assets, anywhere in the world. Very impressive company. We talk a lot about on this episode, the food supply chain, how IoT plays a role in the space, biggest risks the industry is facing, what does it mean to really monitor your supply chain, biggest challenges they’re seeing in the space, how data is helping these businesses, especially with things like regulatory compliance, producing insurance costs, other operating costs, things along those lines, and kind of help how you can get started building end-to-end supply chain visibility for your business. So all in all fantastic conversation. I think you’ll get a lot of value out of it. But before we get into it, any of you out there are looking to enter the fast growing and profitable IoT market, but don’t know where to start, check out our sponsor, Leverage. Leverage is IoT solutions development platform, provides everything you need to create turnkey IoT products that you can white label and resell under your own brand. To learn more, go to iotchangeseverything.com. That’s iotchangeseverything.com. And without further ado, please enjoy this episode of the IoT For All Podcast. Welcome Sanjay to the IoT For All Pddcast. Thanks for being here this week.
– [Sanjay] Pleasure. Thank you for having me.
– [Ryan] Absolutely, I’m very excited about this conversation. I wanted to kick it off by having you give a quick introduction about yourself to our audience.
– [Sanjay] My name is Sanjay Sharma. I’m the CEO of Roambee corporation. We are based here in headquartered here in Santa Clara, California with offices, you know, in nine countries. And we basically deliver, you know, supply chain visibility as a service for our enterprises.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. Can you dive a little bit more into the company side of things and what I’m kind of looking for is just to hear a little bit more, you talked about supply chain as a focus. What, are there any particular use cases that you’re comfortable sharing, just to kind of give some perspective as to the full scale of what you provide for the industry?
– [Sanjay] Yes, absolutely. So our mission starts when, you know, goods get packed into a container, a pallet, or even a car, or a package. And our customers ask of us to basically monitor these shipments as they move from origin to destination. And while it’s moving, they want us to deliver at the very basics of where these shipments are and what is the condition of the shipments. But very, very soon they want to basically have us take this information and extrapolate into predictions. So knowing where my shipment is, knowing what those conditions are, can you predict things in my supply chain? For example, can you predict spoilage risk? Can you predict a damage risk? Can you predict a taper risk? Can you predict quality risk, and many other risk profiles, right. And that’s what our customers use us for. We basically play in markets like the pharmaceuticals and the life sciences, the food and beverages. We have customers in the electronic space. We have customers in chemical industry. You know, we have customers in the logistics space that basically use our service to be more efficient and more transparent. So that’s a little bit of a profile of on what we do.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. So when people talk about supply chain, especially as it relates to IoT, we’re always thinking about how we can better monitor the entire supply chain, different pieces of it, potentially to get that information that really matters. Can you talk us through kind of at a high level, how that has kind of been done in the past and kind of what’s really different about the capabilities these days and kind of why it’s better?
– [Sanjay] Yeah. So if you look back 10 years, right? The way it was done was lot of calling, lot of emailing. It graduated from those high touch people to people or inbox to inbox communication, to things like EDI. So companies started basically bringing EDI messages into the play and exchanging those messages in a certain format that anybody could understand. And then they graduated into basically tracking the trucks, right? So the fact that I know where the truck is, I can claim the shipments inside the truck is, you know, I have knowledge of where those locations are. But trucks only form one part of the supply chain, right? When you look at raw materials, when you look at finished moving globally, it’s the multimodal transportation play that comes into design here. And most of our customers, you know, today have some or the other point solution. Now with the whole revamping of the supply chain, or, you know, many call it as a digital transformation of the supply chain, it is critically important for enterprises to react to any changes. And you can only react if you know what’s happening around your goods and asset in real time. And once you know how to react, can you make that reaction repeatable, so that when the next time there is a Swiss Canal piece happens, I know what are the five things that needs to be done within my supply chain to be, you know, as agile as possible.
– [Ryan] Gotcha. How has the kind of evolution of technology in the IoT space helped contribute to kind of these advances, and one of the areas I’d be curious to kind of get your thoughts on is the connectivity side. So as connectivity has changed and grown, it’s enabled more capabilities to get visibility, even not just more accurately, but just kind of on a regular basis as supply chains change environments, change, you know, different kinds of areas that are going through. How has that really played a role in overall enhancements to the supply chain and the visibility companies are now able to have?
– [Sanjay] Very good question. So I think, you know, the entire IoT industry has been developed or accelerated its formation and its maturity based on the tailwinds of various hardware and connectivity players. What I mean by that is the chips and the modules and everything that goes into building a tracker has become cheaper and much better with much better and powerful compute power. And the second piece is basically the connectivity has been diversified. So not just GPS, but also basically looking at cellular connectivity, wifi connectivity, Bluetooth connectivity. A lot of these connectivities are now in the hands of the consumers. And taking advantage of that existing network, that’s number one. And then the cost of these two components, big components, right? The cost of the hardware and the cost of the connectivity coming down makes it very relevant to deploy these technologies in use cases within the supply chain. And we are seeing a lot of that from transitioning from a 2G, 3G network to a 5G network. Transitioning from a 5G to, you know, there are talks about, you know, how lower networks come into play, talks about how Bluetooth or wifi mesh networking comes into play. So connectivity be ubiquitous that in a way that basically we can track, you know, things that are indoors, outdoors, or in transit. And to do that globally is, used to be a rocket science, you know, in the past, but not anymore because of the diversity and the expanse of this network that is deployed globally.
– [Ryan] Gotcha. Yeah. It’s been very interesting to kind of monitor the progression of the technologies in the space and how they play a role in not just supply chain, but all different use cases and what it enables. I did wanna ask though, you mentioned earlier when you’re kind of running through different things that, or different kinds of visibility that you kind of get into on the supply chain and different types of questions you’re able to now answer with the data. One of the areas that I haven’t really had the opportunity to talk to many people about, but I’ve always been kind of curious is around the food supply chain side of things. So can you, just from your experience, talk about how these technologies that we’re talking about in IoT in general is really playing a role in the food supply chain, and also, I guess maybe pair that with the biggest risks that the industry either has been, or is currently facing and how we’re able to kind of help improve the food supply chain in general.
– [Sanjay] Yeah, absolutely. So I think, you know, if you look back at some of the vision statements coming from the, you know, from the FDA, and you know, other industry experts, farm to fork has been sort of the golden vision statement out there. It’s been pursued for the last 20 years. You know, we had RFID play a little bit of a role in there. But all of these technologies in the past had varied limitations. Now, if you break down the food supply chain, the biggest problem is in the distribution of raw material, or I would say fresh produce and packaged goods. And when you break it down even further, one is basically, can you comply, so from point to point B, when I’m delivering, you know, chocolate products or ice cream products, can I basically make sure that, you know, it doesn’t get spoiled during the journey, which means there is a cold chain monitoring compliance scenario in play. And once I deliver, can it basically last for a little bit longer time, right? So that’s sort of the one piece. The second piece is basically a fresh produce when, you know, once it’s off the farm, getting into, you know, the grocery stores on their shelf in the fastest amount of time with the maximum amount of freshness and quality that can be basically consumed by many of us is another challenge. Now these two challenges drive down to pieces of two pieces of technology. One is packaging technology. Can I basically given that I’m going to move mangoes or I’m going to move our avocados from point A to point B from, you know, and the temperature on a Wednesday is 70 degrees compared to yesterday, it was 80 degrees. What kind of packaging material that I need to use and how many, for example, ice packs, I need to put in that packaging so that it can last the journey of the shipment. That’s sort of where predictive analytics, historical data comes into place, so that I can tell my customers if moving this product from California to Guadalajara, or visa-versa, this is the packaging material you got to use. These many ice packs need to be there to maintain the freshness and et cetera. So that’s sort of one piece. The second piece is when you are delivering finished products, whether it’s beverages, chocolates, or ice creams, compliance is very key, right? So when you move the products into the last mile, everything matters. How long you’ve kept the door of the truck open while you are taking the product out of the truck and moving into the facility or the store. And what is that impact of the door opening on the temperature and how does temperature impact the life of these products in the truck? So it’s very non-trivial while, you know, we all can say that I know what the temperature inside the truck is, but when you add all of this together, it has a compounding effect on the spoilage or the life of the product. And that’s sort of how I see the food supply chain taking advantage of technologies that provide real time monitoring of temperature, humidity, where it is, and then translating that into spoilage, it is translating that into transporter performance, translating that into the routes that one has to take based on the quality of routes, and many other things.
– [Ryan] You mentioned something a second ago about compliance, and I’m curious to understand how this access to new data helps businesses meet compliance regulations. Does it, you know, and what other benefits there are accessing this data? Like, does it affect insurance? Does it affect, obviously to some degree of operating costs, things like that. But can you talk a little bit about how that new data that’s able to be collected and understood, analyzed is helping with those kinds of areas or maybe other areas we’re not thinking about just for, at the top of, you know, our conversation?
– [Sanjay] Yeah. I mean, the old way of doing things was, you know, put our data logger in the shipments. And data loggers is nothing, but, you know, a temperature recorder. You turn it on, you drop it in a shipment, it keeps recording. And when the shipment reaches a destination, you take this recorder off and stick it into a computer and see what those temperatures were. So it was not real time. It was not actionable. It was a verification kind of a technology. But now with real time, every five minutes, I can basically tell if the temperature is up or down a given threshold of a customer shipment. And that has huge impact, right? One, basically be able to tell if the shipment is going to be delivered in good quality at it’s destination. The second piece is also be able to predict if there is a spoilage risk and I have an insurance premium of it. All of this audit trail that leads to a spoilage, which is maybe beyond the control of a customer. Maybe there is a traffic jam, maybe, you know, there is some global risk, you know, that basically push the product to be at a port for more than seven days or whatever that is. You now have a verifiable audit trail of how the transportation and various players in the transportation performed. And you can put this all together to basically claim an insurance on your products, right?
– [Ryan] Gotcha. Absolutely, yeah. I mean, we’ve seen in other industries, how data, new access to basically new data that wasn’t able to be collected before, is influencing things like that. So I was just kinda curious how it plays a role in the supply chain, which makes total sense with all the different moving pieces. But when it comes to that, what is the kind of balance or the trade off between that access to data, but also the security side of it? Cause I’m sure that’s a very important thing people are looking into considering, kind of that data security mixed with data sharing and trying to find that kind of happy middle ground there.
– [Sanjay] Yeah. I think one of the things that many enterprises overlook when they’re defining their digital transformation strategy for supply chain is unlike many other data streams in other use cases, in specifically in supply chain, data has an expired date. So for example, you know, if my temperature is four degrees in Santa Clara at, you know, 2:00 PM in the afternoon, you can only act on that data for the next 15, 20 minutes although after that, this data is useless. From an actionability perspective. But that data becomes very important to understand the patterns and trends when it is collectively used looking at data in Santa Clara on a Wednesday for the past 25 cases. Okay. So where the guidance to our customers are basically when it comes to data, you know, expiry and actionability, put that data in the fingertips of your workers so that they can take action very quickly. But when it comes to looking at trending and patterns, make sure the data is secured. Data is encrypted. Data is only accessible to the few that are basically looking at, you know, taking that data and making it more efficient. So I feel there is a dual role here. Data for transparency, of course, needs to be in the hands of many that basically can take action and then data for efficiency need to be secured and use, you know, in a manner that basically complies with corporate governance.
– [Ryan] Totally, totally makes a lot of sense there. I did want to kind of pivot here for a second. And we talked about security. We talked about kind of access to this new data. What are some of the biggest challenges that you’re seeing in the supply chain space that we may not be thinking about? I mean, we’ve talked in the past about chip shortages, we’ve talked about other different elements similar to that, but like the different technologies, maybe, potentially not being able to fit with particular use cases, but are there any other challenges that maybe we’re not thinking about that you witness or see that, you know, should be a focus as we continue to kind of progress and grow as an industry?
– [Sanjay] I think one that, you know, we are working on and it’s again, one of those non-trivial problem statements is, network propagation, right? So for example, going back to the famous Swiss Canal example. If my container is on a ship that stuck in Swiss Canal, how does that impact my own network that goes not just within my ecosystem, but also propagate to my suppliers, my customers, right. So can I predict the fact that shipment of coffee filters is sitting at the Swiss Canal for last 15 days? What is the impact of that on the pricing of coffee filters 3, 4, 5 months down the road. And I think it’s a subject that has been not studied very well because a lot of companies, including us are solving the real light of the supply chain, identify the glitches kind of a problem. But I think once the glitches are identified, what is the impact, you know, at the level of customer base or supplier base is something that, you know, needs to be picked up and it’s going to be a very hard topic given where we are from a global macroeconomics perspective.
– [Ryan] Yep, yep. Yeah, absolutely. And it’s very interesting to kind of just hear as each guest that I have on here, I kind of am almost ask everyone a similar question about the challenges that we’re gonna see. And it’s always interesting to kind of hear the perspective from the different industry focuses and the different areas of IoT that you play in and kind of understand, but there’s a lot of similarities between what different areas of the space are seeing. So I’m very interested to kind of see how things continue to progress and move forward. And one of the last things I wanted to ask you today was if you were to talk to somebody about how to go about starting their supply chain, kind of IoT journey, working to build visibility into their supply chain, how would you recommend they go about it? What are some of the key things that need to be considering all the way from when they’re, you know, the early ideation through working towards deployment, and how do they really get started on that journey? And just, I’d love to hear it if you could kind of just take us through what that looks like on the supply chain side.
– [Sanjay] Yeah, I think, you know, by now, you know, most of the strategy companies like the McKenzie and everybody else has laid out, you know, what the best practices are and what the methodology should be in starting initiative within supply chain for visibility and how it translates into implementation. But one of the things, the dos and the don’ts, I would recommend to an enterprise is basically starting you know, if you’re looking at supply chain visibility and distribution, look at starting small. Look at basically not spending more time on how you will get visibility, but now that you have visibility, what would you do with it? And that’s most often the hardest problem in an enterprise, because there are various ways to skin the benefits of visibility for an enterprise. Now, when it comes to visibility, it can be sensorless, it can be sensor driven. It can be Roambee, it can be non-Roambee. But what is important is once you deploy, there is a behavior change. And the behavior chain will touch the people, the processes, and the systems. And that’s most often the hardest part. You would basically get visibility initiatives off the ground very fast, but what is the impact on the people and their behavior now that they have this data in front of them. What is the impact on a process? So, you know, if a process was taking 25 steps, now you got only two steps. What’s the impact of that two step process on your enterprise. And lastly, the systems, right? I mean, you have invested in ERP, you have invested in warehouse management, and now you brought a new stack, which is a combination of sensor, non sensors data, how that sort of plays into this ecosystem, because you don’t want to have overlapping functionality between the system that makes it very bulky and cumbersome for enterprises to act on. So these are the few things that I would encourage enterprise to look at before embarking on a project, such as supply chain visibility.
– [Ryan] Have you run into a lot of situations where a company looking to adopt and improved their supply chain visibility has been hindered by their existing infrastructure and kind of legacy systems that they have in place, or is that something that’s not as much of a concern anymore due to just the advances in the technology and what’s available?
– [Sanjay] Yeah, actually yes and no, right? I mean, ERPs are not getting replaced overnight. But ERPs don’t have a placeholder for real time data because the speed at which data gets collected and processed, and the richness of that data needs to reside someplace. And, you know, there are times when we thought that subset of that data would reside into ERP. But ERP is just a planning tool, planning technology. What we are, what the industry is going towards is basically real time execution feedback platforms that allow us to basically synchronize planning with execution. And that sort of has to coexist, you know, in an enterprise ecosystem, you know, whether you are a vaccine manufacturer or you are an electronics company.
– [Ryan] Absolutely. Yeah. It’s a very interesting kind of space to monitor for sure. I think supply chain has become something that is discussed more now than it has been in a really long time. I think we got people never thought about vaccine supply chains, at least you know, publicly, until the COVID vaccines and started to kind of understand how that process works. Chip shortages has hit a lot of industries. So supply chain on that front, and then just a general increase in prices for food and other types of things. There’s supply chain that influences all of those. And until recently hasn’t really been something that people pay much attention to, probably because just they take it for granted that things show up when it needs to show up, but it doesn’t always happen that way. So I’m hoping that the advances in these technologies, the connectivity technologies, the sensors, you know, you said you can go without sensors, and just the general visibility and data that you’re able to have now have access to will enhance supply chain across all industries and we all can benefit kind of as a whole.
– [Sanjay] That’s right. That’s right. Yeah.
– [Ryan] So for audience out there who wants to potentially follow up, learn more, get in touch in any capacity, what’s the best way that they can do that?
– [Sanjay] Multiple forums. We are there in various events. We run awareness and educational webinars and seminars. And obviously we are putting together meetups, you know, in various cities around the world. I mean, high touch, getting awareness, you know, going through some of our material is the right way to get started.
– [Ryan] Fantastic. Well, we’ll be sure to link up kind of the website and any type of content that’s important for the audience to stay in touch and learn more. I’m sure there’s gonna be a lot of questions and follow up from this conversation. So Sanjay, thanks so much for your time. I’ve been looking forward to this conversation ever since we got it booked. Obviously Roambee’s been a company that’s, you know, been a big name in this space for so long. So I really appreciate you taking the time to do this. I think our audience is gonna find a ton of value out.
– [Sanjay] Thank you. Thank you very much, Ryan.
– [Ryan] All right, everyone. Thanks again for watching that episode of the IoT For All Podcast. If you enjoyed the episode, please click the thumbs up button, subscribe to our channel, and be sure to hit the bell notifications so you get the latest episodes as soon as it become available. Other than that, thanks again for watching. And we’ll see you next time.