With each passing year, we see an ever-expanding range of devices that connect to the internet. While on-demand apps make services more accessible to consumers, connected devices can bring convenience to a user’s fingertips, no matter where they are.
Ranging from the commonly accepted and generally well understood connected devices, such as laptops, and smartphones, to the perhaps more unusual devices like Smart refrigerators, Smart Cars, connected fitness trackers, and Smart thermostats, it is beginning to feel as though we are transitioning into a world where everything connects to a network. Consumers can change the temperature in their homes remotely, start up their car while they’re walking towards it, and link their workout across multiple devices. However, this is only the beginning of what’s possible and is developing and evolving at a rapid pace.
The Internet of Things (IoT), refers to a network of connected devices, objects, and sensors, that collect and communicate information. When applied to the global supply chain, IoT technology can help businesses serve their customers better, while also saving the business money and improving overall efficiency. The following are just a few ways where companies can improve the operation of their supply chain, by utilizing the benefits offered by IoT technology.
Improving Inventory Solutions
Businesses can now place IoT sensors with a variety of components to help manage inventory more efficiently. With an IoT inventory system, the supply levels of several critical elements can be monitored in real time to help inform business decisions and prevent shortages. The data from these systems can even be analyzed to predict the future inventory needs of the business.
Beyond providing insights and helping to manage inventory more efficiently, IoT systems can relieve this task from the workload of human employees, saving the business money because fewer staffing hours will be spent tracking inventory. IoT solutions will instead allow employees to focus on the core tasks of running the business.
Along with improving inventory operations, IoT sensors can also be placed with products, so helping businesses to track the location and condition of items as they are in transit. This information can provide companies with a more accurate estimate of when shipments will get delivered, and also help to prevent issues associated with shipments arriving containing damaged items.
The technology provided by Gravity Supply Chain provides a strong illustration of this testament. By collecting and analyzing data from a wide range of sources, their platform offers end-to-end visibility for a company’s full supply chain. With information available from IoT devices, carriers, airlines, port authorities, weather, news feeds, and satellite tracking sharing data through cellular networks, a business can get an accurate picture of any stage in the supply chain at any time. As an example; they can precisely predict the ETA of a shipment, thereby improving their ability to both plan for, and subsequently execute on time, in full deliveries.
Furthermore, Gravity’s IoT sensors enable the monitoring of data that could impact a shipment’s overall condition, such as fluctuations in temperature and humidity, the product’s current location, and any other potentially damaging situation such as excessive pressure, light, and shock ,that might be occurring during transit. With this information, a business can know if items have deteriorated or been damaged during shipping, allowing them to get ahead of any potential issues.
IoT For Supply Chain Maintenance
Modern supply chains rely on the health of many elements, including that of machines. When one of these machines breaks down, it can slow the supply chain down, or even bring it to a complete halt. For the businesses that are relying on this supply chain, an event like this can be extremely costly.
By placing IoT sensors in critical equipment and machinery, a variety of performance metrics can be monitored, enabling the prediction of breakdowns and any other possible maintenance issues. As an example; by using predictive maintenance on the machines within the supply chain, businesses can take the necessary steps to prevent problems occurring ahead of time, and also extending the overall lifespan of the equipment.
The Internet of Things might be a relatively new technology, but businesses need to start embracing it now. By adopting these technologies early, a company can gain a significant edge over the competition.
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