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BOC Pit Stop: Identifying cost effective and efficient real time inventory tracking

Date: 18 September 2017 08:00 - 18 September 2017 16:30

This Pit Stop will search for solutions to satisfy BOC’s requirements to develop a robust, cost-effective tracking system that will seamlessly integrate into their gas production and distribution facilities.

Participants will need to pay careful consideration to hazardous environments and the testing facilities that cylinders pass through during their life when proposing solutions.


BOC is the largest provider of industrial, medical and special gases in the UK and Ireland and is part of The Linde Group.

BOC in the UK

  • Established over 120 years ago
  • Produces 7.5m cylinders of compressed gasses per annum
  • 9 UK sites
  • Fleet of over 300 vehicles for carrying cylinders
  • 3,200 UK employees

Linde Group worldwide

  • 64,500 employees worldwide
  • Operating in 100 countries
  • Global revenue €17 bn

With 4m cylinders in circulation and nearly 5,000 deliveries daily, keeping track of its UK assets in real time is a core business challenge for BOC, and one which if solved, could provide a number of key operational and commercial benefits:

  • Improve delivery and production efficiencies
  • Better inventory management
  • Enhance customer experience and transparency
  • Reduce misplaced or lost assets

The resulting solution could also help to address longer-term goals in areas such as:

  • Creating a smarter supply chain
  • Reducing asset numbers in circulation (target reduction of circa 20%)
  • Enabling new business models (alternative service models, asset management for customers)

Key considerations

BOC is looking to source a robust, cost-effective solutions that integrates seamlessly into its gas production and distribution facilities.

The solution needs to enable BOC to understand where in its delivery lifecycle a cylinder is and the condition of the cylinder related to location. This data should include:

  • Cylinder location within the BOC sites, BOC trucks, third parties and customers
  • If the cylinder has been through the testing process
  • Cylinder contents (i.e either full or empty)

In order to identify a cost-effective solution, they are open to discussing different systems for tracking, with different combinations of technologies, and resulting levels of accuracy (i.e. GPS vs. LPWAN).

Due consideration in developing a solution should be given to the hazardous environments and testing facilities that the cylinders pass through during their extensive life span. BOC is not considering replacement of existing cylinders.

The budget for deploying such systems will be dependent on the value demonstrated. To date, BOC has not considered tracking devices costing over $5, as scaling more expensive solutions is perceived to be too costly.

Consideration should be given to the large inventory, the opportunity for BOC to offer bolt-on services to their customers and the need to ensure the system deployed is future-proofed.

The current scope of this work spans across the UK and Ireland.

The Pit Stop process

The Pit Stop is the first step towards gaining a deeper understanding of solutions in the market, the value they generate and the potential impact on operations and customers.

Participants will collaborate with BOC, experts, and innovators to:

  • Explore innovative inventory management and asset tracking solutions
  • Understand how cylinder tracking solutions can be deployed effectively
  • Consider the next steps required to trial or test identified solutions

As part of the Pit Stop, participants will be asked to share use cases and/or information regarding on-going trials or tests. There will be the opportunity to discuss your approach with experts from BOC and other providers during the activity. Following the conclusion of the Pit Stop, if viable solutions have been identified, BOC will invite selected innovators to further develop relationships and potentially fund trials.

Who should attend?

We are looking for participants with products, services and/or expertise relating to:

  • Inventory management systems
  • Asset tracking solutions
  • Inventory and vehicle tracking

BOC is also interested in use cases in related fields which could be applied to this challenge, such as:

  • Demand supply matching
  • Just in time delivery
  • Automated factory floors

Applicants should be prepared to take their solutions through testing and into full production. Therefore knowledge or experience of taking (new) products to market is desirable.

Activity dates:

The Pit Stop will take place at Digital Catapult Centre, Kings Cross, 101 Euston Road, London, NW1 2RA

The dates for the Pit Stop are:

  • Wednesday 18th October, 2017: 1730h – 2100h
  • Thursday 19th October, 2017: 0900h – 1700h

To attend this Pit Stop all applications must be received by Monday 18 September