Supply chain management (SCM) is the link between every production stage of a product. Every connection must be strong because a failure somewhere can lead to higher costs and, therefore, lower profits.
Internet of Things (IoT) is how things and data are linked, combined, and used uniquely. This can be applied to many products and processes, from medical devices to industrial control. It also provides an efficient means for businesses to keep an eye on their operations in real-time.
The supply chain is essentially how things get from one location to another. It can be as simple as a local store selling goods, to a warehouse storing everything until it’s ready to be shipped out, to a shipping container containing all the goods until they reach their final destination, and so forth.
Here, we’ll take a look at six benefits.
(1) Improved Inventory Tracking
Inventory is a vital part of the operations management process. Various inventory systems exist to help you keep track of everything in the inventory, but they often require manual input and hand counts to update inventory numbers. It’s a good idea to know what you have on the shelf and what’s coming in.
IoT is a relatively new concept that combines two very different concepts. It’s asset tracking on the one hand and big data on the other. IoT can help track everything from inventory to assets – it can help reduce losses from theft or shrinkage, for example.
(2) Greater Transparency Through the Supply Chain
IoT has an essential role in maintaining a transparent supply chain. We can use it to improve efficiency and safety by sharing real-time data on inventory and location. This helps prevent disruptions in the entire supply chain when something goes wrong with a supplier.
Once your products are out in the open, it will be easy to track down answers to questions about how they work, what features they have, what you need to do to make sure they perform well in the hands of your customers, and so on.
(3) Cold Chain Monitoring
Many companies and industries use cold chain monitoring to manage the flow of perishables in production. By tracking these flows on a moment-by-moment basis, businesses can better manage the flow of food and protect it from spoiling. This is done through the use of predictive and descriptive analysis.
Adding the Internet of Things (IoT) to cold chain transport systems can help companies track interior temperatures during transport and storage and alert company owners or supervisors if there is any variation in the temperature of the truck or warehouse.
Regarding transporting goods, temperature control is one of the most critical aspects. Temperature is extremely important for food, medicine, and other valuable cargo, but strict guidelines and regulations must be followed.
Notifications and actions can be lifesavers. Swift action and notifications can save a lot of heartache and money.
(4) Saves Cost with Predictive Maintenance
IoT can save you a lot of money by providing timely information about when a machine should be maintained and repaired. When something breaks in an industrial machine, it can cost you a lot of time and money, so getting in on the IoT game will give you peace of mind.
Sensors are a great way to monitor your facility, and they can provide valuable information about your company’s processes. However, while these devices may be more accurate than humans, they can malfunction and compromise a product’s quality.
Companies should develop new tools and verification methods that don’t rely on people.
(5) Better Fleet Management and Control
IoT helps companies connect their vehicles and the outside world, allowing fleet owners to track a vehicle’s location, determine fuel consumption and give drivers real-time access to data. It also helps companies improve driver performance and access real-time information.
Imagine seeing how your delivery trucks are performing on a real-time basis. It would be much safer to drive, but it also helps your company maintain a better grasp of your fleet’s overall performance. With the right technology, you can get a complete picture of your truck fleet minute-by-minute.
(6) Improved the Last-Mile Deliveries
The last mile in the supply chain is the final step for your product before it reaches your customers. The last mile is where you ship, service, support, sell and answer questions.
IoT might be the ultimate answer to improving last-mile delivery. With GPS and IoT, you can create optimized routes to reduce fuel waste and time stuck in traffic, thanks to real-time traffic analytics.
That same technology that helps track goods and parcels in warehouses can also improve the delivery of packages to homes. And because the tracking system is already established in warehouses and stores, it is easier to implement the same technology that tracks goods for online shopping.
Transforming the Supply Chain with IoT
The impact of IoT on supply chains is just beginning, and the next few years will see the benefits grow in leaps and bounds.
About the Author
Dr. Mazlan Abbas is an IOT Evangelist, Thought Leader, and CEO of FAVORIOT. He is very passionate about building a Generation IoT of the future. And currently, his company, Favoriot, is offering a FREE IoT platform subscription to start your IoT journey simply and rapidly. The platform is also best for learning, teaching, building, and deploying any IoT projects regardless the scale (small or large)
[Infographics “IoT Elevating Supply Chain Processes” – Source: BizIntellia]