When shipping goods, the supply chain is often a black hole. How well the goods have been treated and whether there has been external influences during the delivery that affect the quality is mostly unknown. This can lead to considerable costs for the end-user / receiver, since replacement is necessary, which may have to be re-delivered. For example, consequential damage to sensitive machines (parts) is often difficult to identify and can lead to high maintenance costs or failure during long-term use.
By attaching the Bosch Transport Data Logger to sensitive products, relevant parameters such as temperature, humidity, tilt and shock can be tracked and enable the sender to make the transport processes visible and transparent.
Measurements are documented and visualized through a companion mobile application. Since the limits of each parameter can be individually configured, any violation of these limits is traceable and clearly assignable to the stations throughout the entire transport process. Gaining insights into the logistics process has never been easier with the TDL ecosystem.
The first step is to create a minimal viable product, to test initial hypotheses and enable the learning with potential customers. Therefore, the first desired solution becomes an implementation, where the TDL device must be configured initially and the tracked data have to be read out at the end of the supply chain.
In further stages, the overall system should be able to read out limit violations in real time and offer direct insights into the transport chain. Therefore different frontend clients should be able to connect to a backend via an API. The TDL device itself has to send status updates, tracked data and violations constantly to the backend, that can be visualized in real-time in the frontend clients.
On the smartphone bluetooth must be turned on to connect to a TDL device. To activate the Transport Data Logger, a hardware button needs to pressed for 0.3 to 1.5 seconds to start the BLE advertising. After starting the app users can search for TDL devices nearby. Available loggers can be chosen from a list to start the connection process. Confirming the connection in the pairing dialog bring the user into the setup process to configure the logger.
In the setup process users are guided through 3 simple steps. In the first step the logger can be named and a contact email address can be given. This email address will be the default recipient address when sending data via email. In the second step a logging interval can be chosen and limits for each parameter (temperature, humidity, tilt, shock) can be set. In the last step users can protect their setup with a PIN, that is also needed to stop logging or for any changes within the setup. After all steps are done the logging can be started immediately.
Re-connecting to a TDL device, that has already done measurements, gives a first view of possible violations of the limit value. The connected screen provides an overview of the parameters, showing if any violations have occurred during the logging period by a little red or green indicator.
The details of the whole data set can be downloaded to the smartphone app and are then displayed as graphs. Simple visualizations show, how many violations occurred and how high they were. Any measured point in time can be accessed to get more details.
A report with all informations about the setup, minimum and maximum values that where measured during the transport, violations and all the raw data in a CSV file can be send via email afterwards. This ensures that a transparent exchange of the shipping products takes place between the sender and the receiver, which corresponds to the specifications of quality and durability.
To capture first reactions and get in contact with potential customers, the first goal was to present a minimal viable product at the Hannover fair. Therefore a small test setup have been build, to illustrate the functionality of the TDL device and to demonstrate the companion smartphone app.
After interviews with potential customers and diving deep into real world scenarios, we were able to outline the main use cases of the TDL ecosystem. At the starting point of the conceptual process we tried to figure out und define the product promise. And this goes like that:
The Transport Data Logger from Bosch can track various environmental parameters, to gain insights into the black hole of supply chains. By that the transport processes are fully transparent and can be optimized in every stage of the shipment.
After looking through all the known use cases, we were able to define a basic feature set. To make the later product more tangible, we developed the overal information architecture. Several iterations resultet in a basic flowchart, which has been precised over time and outlined the general product.
In general the complete project was pretty collaborative. Especially the definition of the visual language and voice of the product was the part, where we decided to do some sort of an internal pitch. For that, we have choosen style tiles to create a wide range of visual tones. After reviewing them all, the team picked three routes to go more into detail and mock first interface elements.
As the visual language reached a certain level of detail, we created all screen views and adapted the choosen style for each user interface element. With this level of precision, we tested the basic comprehensibility with a lot of prototypes internally. All collected insights where entered in the general conecpt and the visual design.
on behalf of the client Bosch Connected Devices and Solutions
Lead Interaction Designer/Product Designer for the initial MVP (minimal viable product) and the continuous development of both app clients (iOS and Android)