The Internet of Things (IoT) is the current buzz phrase and this technology has huge potential to add value to your supply chain business. Simply put, IoT is the interconnecting of a myriad of computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, vehicles, buildings and more, via the internet, enabling these objects to collect and exchange data seamlessly.

Linear vs data-driven approach

Let’s look at how IoT can change the operation of the supply chain from the traditional, linear process into a data-driven stream. In the past, methods to improve efficiency revolved around three options: people and processes, information technology (IT) enablement and industrial automation.

On this level, improvements are made by process engineering, reinventing policies and redesigning the organisational structure.

IT enablement

Hugely important, IT enablement facilitates communication between the various entities within the supply chain. Often these IT processes work at a transaction level and are invaluable as they allow customers to have access to large amounts of information whenever and wherever they need it.

Industrial automation

Automation has taken huge strides within warehouses, shop floors and logistics and has greatly reduced the need for manual labour and minimised human error.

While these traditional methods have improved the speed and efficiency of the supply chain, there are significant opportunities for innovation. Often these linear methods are costly to implement and require a time frame before the investment begins to show profitability.

How IoT can impact your supply chain

There is a need for an effective method that requires a lower initial investment, is highly adaptable to various environments and gives priority to the valued customer rather than the process. This is what IoT-enabled methods are all about. IoT doesn’t do away with the traditional methods but adds a seamless stream by enabling better communication and improving the user experience. IoT technology can assist in particular within the key areas of warehousing, inventory tracking, logistics and new product development. The future possibilities are endless!

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