The Internet of Things (IoT) is a complex network of interconnected objects that can collect, transmit, and exchange data. It is a game-changing technology for any major industry including retail, transportation, banking, healthcare, supply chain and more. Businesses can leverage IoT-enabled monitoring, and prediction tools to improve their everyday operations, effectiveness of distribution, and enhance flexibility in supply chain management. This blog will detail how to implement IoT in supply chain management and the benefits of implementing IoT in the supply chain sector.
How to implement IoT in supply chain management?
The Internet of Things has dramatically transformed supply chain management in ways that were hard to imagine before. Leveraging IoT devices makes it easier to determine where products are located, how they are stored, and when they will arrive at a specific location. Warehouses, fresh raw materials, and processed commodities can all relate to IoT devices. These linked gadgets will transmit their location to a GPS module, which can be used to track the location of things and minimize problems in the supply chain. With IoT devices, it is now easier for distribution hubs to track the speed of transportation and decide to collect items, lower handling time, and ensure fast processing. All environmental parameters such as temperature, humidity, and light intensity can be monitored using IoT devices. If specific criteria are exceeded, these devices may trigger an alert. This ensures to preserve the quality of products across the supply chain and eliminates the risk of spoilage. When goods are in a distribution center, they might still be tagged with IoT devices. This makes it much easier to locate individual products inside a huge warehouse and guarantees that products are accurately identified and managed.
Benefits of IoT in supply chain
With the popularity of IoT technology, more organizations have started to reap the benefits of IoT in managing the supply chain. It enables organizations to track products easily, enhance scheduling accuracy and reduce overhead expenses. Now let’s look at the benefits of integrating IoT in supply chain management (SCM):
- Increased speed
Automated route-planning applications and IoT surveillance technologies will improve overall supply chain performance dramatically. Administrators can decrease the feedback cycle, benefit from faster decision-making, efficiently remove delays, and improve overall work efficiency by implementing these solutions into routine activities.
- Greater precision
Businesses may ensure that all parties in the supply chain loop have access to critical insights and can swiftly resolve problems by employing a cloud based IoT solution. Additionally, mobile apps for workers, carriers, supervisors, and consumers can aid them to use obtained data for designing plans that are relevant to client needs.
- Better adaptability
IoT provides exact data on product movement to administrators, enabling retailers and supply chain partners in deciding how many products to acquire. By offering high accuracy in asset monitoring, shipment, and guiding for on-the-road vehicles, the Internet of Things also mitigates the risk of human error.
- Improved segmentation
When it comes to SCM, IoT allows merchants to have a better understanding of their goods, customers, and demands, allowing them to build more appropriate strategies. Furthermore, data obtained across the entire product line aids in gaining a thorough grasp of the market and segmenting things with a specific goal in mind.
- Enhanced efficiency
The Internet of Things provides a wide range of linked systems intended for workers. For example, smart glasses assist warehouse employees in receiving clear instructions so that they spend less time executing a task. In addition, IoT captures efficiency-related data and improves asset and labor allocation knowledge. Because of technological advancements, supply chain administrators can now ensure that all parties involved in the supply perform to their fullest capacity.
Applications of IoT in supply chain management
IoT is now creating waves in supply chain management of various industries. Almost all big brands have embraced IoT in their supply chain processes. Here is how technology influences several aspects of supply chain management, such as logistics, communications, warehousing, and shipping:
- Access information
Asset inspection and control can be made easier with IoT solutions. Rather than manually entering data or using traditional inventory equipment, administrators can now rely exclusively on IoT devices to keep track of all resources’ locations. Similar to asset tracking in sales, IoT sensors enable supply chain managers to track every product rapidly and gain access to critical information such as box contents and maintenance instructions of all shipments.
- Resource administration
IoT can help detect asset breaches, identify faults, predict system breakdowns, and even gain a glimpse into the future. Indeed, linked systems generate data needed for forecasting at various stages of the supply chain, including diagnosing equipment failure, predicting repair, and planning load etc. Being able to forecast failures allows supply chain or warehouse managers to significantly reduce downtime, saving a significant amount of money.
The Internet of Things improves the effectiveness of interactions across all supply chain stakeholders. Administrators may monitor transporters and shippers to ensure that internal regulations are followed, products are properly maintained, and there are no loopholes between the warehouse and the customer’s doorstep. Administrators can communicate with end users and keep them informed about current location, and weather conditions, resulting in better, more personalized service.
In a supply chain, the Internet of Things has evolved into a sustainability enhancer which guides businesses in adhering to existing sustainability standards and pollution restrictions.
With IoT asset tracking sensors, businesses can get a clear picture of how resources like water and electricity are used, and they can implement eco-friendly fleet management and shipping practices.
Challenges of leveraging IoT into supply chains
Despite an increasing demand for digital transformation, many businesses continue to manage deliveries and track assets using obsolete old systems. Many challenges related to old operating processes and technology can be solved by harnessing the use of IoT in the supply chain. However, the challenges of leveraging IoT into supply chains include:
- Connectivity issues
IoT is strongly reliant on a stable internet connection. However, when the fleet drivers move from one area to another, a stable network won’t always be available. Another consideration when deploying IoT in the supply chain is bandwidth. Connected platforms typically demand a lot of bandwidth and necessitate a high-level network server to function properly.
- Increased data storage
One of the many benefits that the Internet of Things offers supply chain management is large data pools. With that capacity, however, comes the obligation of having sufficient server power to store and analyze all of the received data. Inorder to ensure that the right conclusions are drawn from IoT-based insights, company executives will need to adopt data governance policies and hire data analysts.
- Security threats
Another goal for supply chain managers to achieve before fully migrating all processes to connected platforms is to create a safe architecture. Vulnerabilities in data processing and storage can lead to external attacks and leaks, damaging the company’s reputation and raising the cost of failure.
IoT has opened a whole new spectrum of possibilities in supply chain management. It simplifies the tracking and monitoring of commodities, increases the precision of planning, and improves communication transparency. Both small and large organizations are sure to reap benefits by integrating IoT services into their supply chains.
Manju Amarnath is an enthusiastic content writer working at ThinkPalm. She has a keen interest in writing about the latest advancements in technology. Apart from writing, she is a classical dancer, embraces fashion attires and loves spending time with her pets.