Experts are forecasting that an increase in internet-connected physical devices will revolutionize the supply chain by making it transparent. Every global industry, particularly manufacturing, retail, and service industries focused on identifying, locating, and tracking the status of assets, will experience an increase in operational efficiencies and revenue opportunities.
In the supply chain, IoT devices like RFID chips, mobile sensors, and smart devices are an effective way to track and authenticate products and shipments using GPS and other technologies. There are sensors that measure specific aspects of the world around them, including location, temperature, humidity, light levels, movement, handling, speed of movement, and other environmental factors. IoT enables vast automation improvements in inventory, flow, monitoring of equipment and product expiration dates, stock replenishment, inventory control, and maintenance. These improvements enhance quality management throughout the supply chain and can dramatically reduce inefficiencies and costs and preserve profit margins.
When more IoT-enabled systems become linked together, there will be even more benefits for supply chains. The integrated data and digital communication will allow for automatic adjustments within the supply chain. With real-time data that is collected from combined sources, organizations will have the ability to automatically re-route items based on customer changes and proactively replenish inventory based on exact data and the forecasted demand.
As supply chain logistics companies continue to adopt new IoT technology-enabled products and solutions, new benefits and savings will be realized that are totally off the chain
As retailers look to combine their online presence with physical stores, the ability to collect and make visible data at key points in the supply chain is an enabler to improving the customer experience and optimizing supply-chain responsiveness. Combining RFID-tagged products with closed-circuit TV cameras can monitor customer movement and behavior. The collected data can offer insight into buying behavior that will in turn help retailers provide user-specific deals and dynamic pricing, as well as streamline operations.
Transportation and Logistics
Retailers can now follow goods in transit from warehouse to delivery. Cargotec and DHL are among the companies using IoT in logistics to monitor their operations, increase visibility, and reduce costs. The technology helps to track trucks in real time and predict demand for certain goods, helping to keep up with the ever changing face of online sales. A pallet on a truck can transmit messages showing exactly what products, sizes, and styles are included in the cargo. Also, temperatures and humidity levels can be constantly monitored for shipments of perishable goods.
Huge warehouses are benefiting from IoT advancements like shelf sensors. Automated data capture gives real-time visibility of stock and avoids manual counting and human errors. An IoT platform can signal an autonomous robotic cart to collect goods and deliver them to the shipping area, and also signal a re-order when stock runs low. This real-time information and monitoring saves manual labor and helps with inventory accounting, while the improved stocking also leads to increased profits.