How the IoT Will Change Supply Chains Forever
Updated: Feb 12
Supply chain networks across the world are experiencing an unprecedented innovation, and it's all due to the rise of the Internet of Things (IoT). In our post titled, 'Where Will Your Supply Chain Be in 5 Years?', it was underscored how growth is expected in both emerging and developed economies, requiring companies to have a supply chain workforce that can adapt to new technologies.
Soon enough, the IoT will no longer be a novel concept and will instead evolve into something of broad acceptance. This is because of the slew of benefits it yields, which we have listed below:
A standard operating procedure in warehouses is carrying out an established maintenance schedule, which means that they have to take equipment offline to inspect and repair whatever issues that were identified. And while this type of strategy is common, it's not the most efficient option. Studies show that only a small percentage of equipment failures were due to age—the rest happens randomly.
With the IoT, there will be less dependence on preventive maintenance as there are now sensors that monitor each piece of equipment, alerting supervisors when something needs to be taken offline and repaired. This way, only that specific equipment will have to be inspected instead of the whole warehouse, allowing the rest to continue working and increasing output as a result.
Improvement of delivery services
Thanks to advancements in telematics, vehicles can be tracked with ease, improving deliveries. In a time where people demand more transparency from the companies they purchase items from, a feature on telematics by Verizon Connect UK outlines that telematics solutions such as sensors and GPS trackers allow customers to monitor the location of their purchases in real-time, so they can be updated 24/7 on its whereabouts.
The recipient can also receive automated notifications as to where the item is and when it can be delivered to them. The improvements in communication and transparency that telematics allows makes your business look efficient, and there is a higher chance customers will return.
IoT devices have the capacity to keep a close eye on inventories much more efficiently than humans can. For instance, countries in the Asia Pacific like China use RFID tags that allow you to observe in real-time how many items you have and how fast they move around. This helps you not only gauge when to replenish stocks, but also to watch online sales.
Additionally, the data gathered from IoT-powered inventory management software can be analyzed and optimized further to improve your operations. For example, once you confirm that your tech allows for accurate inventories, you can also push automation for ordering additional supplies exactly when you need them.
Seamless last-mile deliveries
Last-mile deliveries, or the product's journey from the warehouse to the doorstep of the intended recipient, tend to be the most challenging part of the supply chain because they demand so much time. Companies have been looking for ways to improve this since e-commerce took off, and it appears that the IoT may just be the solution.
IoT Evolution points out that GPS and the IoT can create optimized routes to significantly reduce fuel waste and time spent stuck in traffic, and it's all thanks to real-time traffic analytics. What's more, as previously mentioned, the same asset-tracking technology used in warehouses can also play a part in improving consumer package tracking, streamlining last-mile deliveries even further. As last-mile deliveries continue to grow due to the advent of e-commerce, it's likely that companies will embrace the IoT even more.
Piece specially contributed to CLN Worldwide
Contributed by: JBranso
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