Modern supply chain management includes managing the flow of goods in all new ways. Here's how IoT is affecting operations today.
Supply chain management involves managing and optimizing the flow of goods and services. This includes sourcing, logistics, and warehousing.
The process starts with the movement of raw materials and follows them all the way through inventory and assembly line until they reach the customer. Businesses in the industry usually include several, big moving parts that must all be carefully maintained. Tracking and optimization are always key, and reliability and stability is crucial as hiccups can lead to major issues.
"What most industrial clients really want to know is not where a workpiece is placed but whether production is running smoothly, bottlenecks or quality issues can be anticipated, understand where waste happens."
Masanori Fujita, co-founder of docoyo
Careful risk management and solutions that add to oversight and transparency are always useful. Perhaps that’s why the IoT is expected to drive a $1.9 trillion impact on the supply chain management sector according to Cisco and DHL.
Common problems in the supply chain can vary greatly. One primary area is asset-related issues. This includes:
On top of this, there's also general inefficiency or lack of clear oversight. Tracking staff movements and data or locating bottlenecks can be difficult.
This is where IoT comes in. There are numerous use cases for Internet of Things throughout the supply chain, so here’s just a few of the most popular.
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Data generation: How long do your employees spend on the forklift? Is there a faster way to manage your assembly line? Gathering data on different movements can illuminate bottlenecks and also enable triggers should something go wrong or a specific movement occur.
Track inventory replenishment: Knowing exactly where and when goods are moving can support better inventory management. Instead of guessing or relying on human interaction, active tracking can automate this entire process.
Assembly line logistics: It’s crucial that businesses can quickly shift between batches and keep on top of their operations. By tracking packages moving to, through, and off the assembly line, managers can ensure fewer waste resources and time.
Monitor assets: Assets are often misplaced or underutilized in the supply chain. This is a huge financial waste that also leads to less efficient practices. Tracking assets with IoT technologies means knowing where crucial tools are located and that they are properly used.
Indoor navigation: Whether it’s helping employees quickly maneuver a large space or supporting more practical storage practices, indoor navigation is a growingly popular use case across all verticals.
End-to-end cold chain: For those in the pharmaceutical or agriculture industries, tracking the temperature of assets and, more importantly, proving compliance and safety, is mission critical. Bluetooth is now helping support these efforts in a more cost-effective and hands-free manner.