The internet of things (IoT) represents a wide range of new technologies and implementations that take connectivity to the next level. What most people think of as the internet is made up of computers, mobile devices, servers, and the connections between them. IoT in supply chain and other applications takes this to the next level.
The internet of things brings a much more comprehensive range of devices into the fold by connecting them through the internet. Individual machines on the factory floor, sensors placed anywhere, and asset tracking resources can send and receive data, opening the door to a wide range of supply chain IoT benefits.
The Revolutionary Impact of the Internet of Things on the Supply Chain
Supply chain internet of things solutions are more than another gradual improvement in operations. They represent a paradigm shift that opens the door to unheard-of solutions to challenges across many industries.
Before the internet of things in supply chain, there was a significant lack of continuity across processes. The factory floor, the warehouse, the loading dock, and the final destination were less like continuous links in a chain and more like disconnected nodes.
There was no way to maintain real-time visibility as products moved between those nodes, leaving the majority of the supply chain in the dark. With IoT supply chain management, organizations can maintain full visibility at all times to truly understand what’s happening.
While this kind of progress might sound futuristic to some organizations, it’s already in place today. Many manufacturers and other businesses around the world have already adopted IoT supply chain solutions to achieve the full benefits of this new technology.
What Benefits Does the IoT Bring to the Table?
The right combination of IoT technology and supply chain management software can provide businesses with many unique benefits. A custom implementation that addresses an organization’s specific needs can elevate its supply chain processes to the next level.
IoT in supply chain can greatly improve the speed and accuracy of supply chain processes. Sensors and scanning devices can transition supply chains away from manual processes, making the most of automation. Production, inventory, and transportation processes can be made more efficient and enjoy reduced delays.
Companies that implement IoT in their supply chains also enjoy improved flexibility. The real-time visibility that IoT solutions provide means that organizations always know the current state of affairs, making it possible to adjust processes on the fly.
When paired with the right software solution, IoT technology enables continuous improvement in supply chain processes. The wealth of data collected lets organizations make the right decisions with actionable insights through both conventional methods and artificial intelligence.
IoT Applications in Supply Chain Management
IoT technology has applications in essentially every area of supply chain management. Implementing devices and sensors throughout processes, and relying on an overarching solution to coordinate data and controls, delivers end-to-end improvements in supply chain management.
Throughout production processes, there are many environmental conditions to monitor. However, implementing conventional sensors isn’t always a viable solution. Remote or hard-to-reach areas can prove challenging, and conventional sensors can be costly.
IoT sensors can be implemented essentially anywhere, allowing organizations to monitor critical conditions quickly and affordably. Temperature and humidity are among the most common parameters monitored with IoT sensors, but practically any type of sensor can be integrated into an IoT solution.
Real-Time Tracking of Goods and Raw Materials
Asset tracking has always been a major challenge in supply chain management. Organizations need to ensure that both incoming and outgoing shipments are headed where they should be.
With IoT asset tracking devices, organizations can maintain real-time visibility on product, container, or vehicle location. They can identify delays more quickly and ensure improved security by always knowing where their assets are. Implementing geo-fencing can provide automated alerts when those assets aren’t where they should be.
Asset Condition Monitoring
Products need to arrive where they should be on time, but also in the right condition. Many factors can damage products during storage, shipping, and handling. With IoT technology, organizations can monitor a variety of factors in real-time to maintain quality and ensure compliance.
IoT devices can monitor the temperature and humidity of specific products, containers, or vehicles to ensure they’re within an acceptable range to maintain product integrity. All types of IoT sensors exist, so more specific applications, such as monitoring orientation or pressure, are also possible.
Managing inventory is a major challenge in itself. With IoT technology, organizations can ensure greater accuracy and prevent specific products and packages from becoming lost and forgotten in warehouses. IoT devices can provide real-time location data or improve workflows in other ways.
With the right solution, IoT can enable automated inventory updates as packages are received, shipped, or moved to different warehouse areas. Handheld scanning devices make it easy for users to scan entire pallets of inventory at once, and portal readers and other equipment provide even more automation.
Predictive Analytics Using Real-time Data
IoT devices and sensors provide a constant influx of real-time data. With the right supply chain management solution, this data can provide actionable insights and even predictive analytics that let organizations resolve issues before they happen. These analytics facilitate day-to-day operations, along with enabling long-term improvement.
With complete visibility over inventory, organizations can implement improved forecasting. The right supply chain management software can provide insight into stock needed for specific products and raw material needs, preventing delays and costs associated with rush orders.
Introducing Surgere's IoT Solution
The potential of IoT in supply chain is practically boundless. However, organizations need to ensure that their solution fits their unique needs. Technology for technology’s sake won’t get you anywhere – you need a partner that can deliver concrete benefits.
Surgere implements a wide range of patented IoT sensor technologies to truly meet your organization’s needs. Our team will create a custom solution that leverages IoT in supply chain to improve accuracy and efficiency in your production, inventory, and transportation processes. Find out more about our unique sensor technology today.