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Thursday, May 10, 2018

How A Better Supply Chain is Possible with IoT Technology

by Catherine Metcalf 

It is now possible for a wide range of items to connect to the internet. Everything from your car to your coffeemaker can get online and engage in some level of data exchange. This is what many people refer to as the Internet of Things (IoT). 

Most consumers may have a vague idea of how this technology applies to the products in their home, but they are probably even less aware of how the IoT can be integrated into the processes that supply those products.

Inventory Management
A modern business must be able to manage inventory effectively in order to run an efficient operation. In the past, that meant paying employees to take time out from their normal responsibilities in order to manually count and record each product. 

With IoT technology, businesses can simply hire a programmer to create a linked system for them. For example, the coder could build a system of sensors that will automatically monitor inventory levels. This could prove helpful as it will allow human employees to remain focused on the jobs that keep the business going. The potential for human error from the inventory process would be a forgotten memory, and a more efficient system for inventory management would be introduced. 

Quality Control
Shipping companies have been using asset-tracking solutions for some time now. Under most of the current models, barcodes and scanners are used to manually track the progress of items. While this system does provide organizations with some basic information, there are IoT solutions that can do much more.

By installing sensors in all of the shipped items, the company can track the exact location of them all without the need for manual scanning. Sensors could even be used to identify the potential for damage that may occur during transportation. By reducing the potential for damaged items being sold to consumers, businesses could save money on returns and improve their customer relations.

Supply chain inefficiencies are often the result of maintenance issues. If there is a breakdown or failure at any stage in the process, it can result in items being delayed to their intended destination. If it takes a considerable amount of time to perform the necessary repairs, the supply chain will suffer until things are up and running as they should.

With the Internet of Things, companies can run more efficient preventative maintenance programs. Sensors can be installed to identify performance issues and to monitor the condition of different parts. Maintenance teams can be notified before a breakdown occurs, allowing repairs to be performed before more severe problems arise. 

Up until recently, it wasn’t easy to find information about the origins of a product or the path it took to reach the consumer. Over the last few years, customers have started to show more of an interest in the supply chain. People want to know that companies are being ethical and producing goods in a way that is environmentally friendly.

With IoT solutions, businesses can allow consumers to see every stage of the supply chain. For consumers that have concerns about manufacturing and shipping practices, a transparent supply chain can have a major impact on their purchasing decisions.

The Internet of Things is going to help create a supply chain that is more efficient and responsive. Not only will this boost revenue for companies that use this technology, it will also allow them to provide better service to their customers.



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