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Nicolas Navarro's Research

Investigation into the Deployment of Smart Sensors for Distribution Packaging Tracking

Nicolas Navarro


Nicolas D. Navarro

M.S. Student

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Nico grew up in a small town in Costa Rica surrounded by coffee farms. He completed his bachelors of science degree in Industrial Engineering at the Costa Rica Institute of Technology. In his free time, Nico likes to hike, watch movies and hang out with his friends. He also enjoys reading fiction, as well as philosophical and political books.

Nico completed a short internship at Virginia Tech during his undergraduate education, and when it came time to start his graduate degree, he decided to come back to the campus he’d enjoyed, especially since he was offered the chance to work on what he found to be such an interesting research project. 

In Nico's research, he is looking at how technology can be used to remotely collect data about packages and unit loads during distribution and what the implications are of such technology on the interactions between different types of stakeholders in supply chains. Knowing how technology can be implemented to improve the knowledge that companies have about the condition of their products during distribution has the potential for many cost savings opportunities relating to less damage, more visibility, and greater efficiency.

Nico is looking forward to a career in the field of supply chain and operations management. His experience working in the lab has been very valuable to him - especially learning how to work in a team to achieve the goals of an organization. He has enjoyed expanding his knowledge about packaging design, performance testing, and the standards required by ISO and ASTM. He feels that learning how to balance schoolwork and research has been a very important and difficult lesson. Working with real-world industrial projects in the lab has helped him gain an understanding of the business needs of corporations. Seeing first-hand how the daily lab activities create a valuable service to the client and figuring out how to collaborate with other people to accomplish tasks are lessons that Nico feels will be very valuable in helping him reach his future career goals.

Research Summary:

This research will focus on the deployment of smart sensors into distribution packaging.

This research will help us create continuous supply chain visibility. The Internet of Things (IoT) has started to become a widely used technology in many aspects of our life from smart refrigerators to aerospace sensors. In the distribution packaging industry, obtaining data on the shock, vibration, and environmental conditions that packages experiences throughout the distribution supply chain will enable us to create safer and more sustainable packaging solutions.

This initial research will focus on reviewing the sensors and technologies currently available to the distribution packaging industry and identifying any opportunities for further research into these and future technologies. Currently available sensors will be attached to packages and then data will be collected about what these packages experience in terms of shocks and vibrations as they are travel through the distribution supply chain. Recommendations for improving the data collected and the sensors themselves will be presented in this research.

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