It’s more than a trend, it seems to be an evolution. The Internet of Things (IoT) is referred to by many experts, academics and business leaders from different areas of expertise as the next big step in the online world.
Basically, we are talking about a new way of living – and producing – in which people are fully connected through almost every device that is used in daily life; from mobile gadgets, cars, motorcycle helmets, supermarkets, taxi’s. Just name it.
Last year, Gartner (a US-based technology consultant company) outlined some factors that will improve the supply chain. According to them, the benefits will be visible mainly in internal processes and communication with clients. Example of these are:
1. Improve existing processes: “Spanning asset utilization, warehouse space optimization or production planning.”
2. Fully Redesign: “The proliferation of the adoption of IoT will drive the need for the redesign of many existing supply chain processes.”
3. Information: “With the IoT, the supply chain will have unprecedented access to data valued by internal and external stakeholders. This presents an opportunity for groups to co-develop new information-based solutions for individual customers or markets.”
4. Convergence: “Infusion of IoT in the supply chain will create new challenges and demands on the supply chain organization who will likely be tasked with delivering, sourcing and maintaining technology-enabled products and solutions.”
Related to this, Inbound Logistics columnist Udaya Chankar, explains that this new Internet contributes to businesses by having “richer data and deeper intelligence for all parties in a supply network. And that doesn’t just apply to product visibility. By allowing devices to “talk to each other” in the right way, IoT can help supply chain management to reduce asset loss, save fuel costs, to ensure temperature stability (in cold chains), to manage warehouse stock, to gain user insight and to create fleet efficiencies.”
But, how can it be applied to practical situations? Let’s look at an example. “The product life cycle management systems – The Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (Cips) explains – it will expand to incorporate various product performance measurements; Enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems will be able to monitor parts that need replacing, and customer relationship management applications will automatically notify customers of the need to replace the part before a fault occurs.”
Also, there are major companies that are foreseeing the challenges that are needed to be taken in order to achieve a real IoT environment. DHL, for example, stands that “To successfully implement IoT in logistics will require strong collaboration, along with high levels of participation between different players and competitors within the supply chain, and a common willingness to invest. The shared end goal will be to create a thriving IoT ecosystem.”