Impact of IoT on Supply Chains
The Internet of Things (IoT) has already had a profound impact on supply chain and will continue to do so as adoption increases and new uses are found.
IoT involves connecting everyday devices to the internet. This enables large amounts of data to be collected from many places, creating more visibility across operations.
A common example of IoT is smartphones. They allow you to receive and send information while being mobile. It can also act as a sensor by collecting data on its environment and determining current location.
Current uses of IoT in Supply Chains
One of the biggest areas for IoT in supply chains has been tracking and tracing. With this technology, companies have been able to follow in real time, the location of assets and shipments, allowing for better responsiveness and decision making in changing environments.
An example of supply chain assets that are being tracked are containers. Using sensors, it is possible to monitor the temperature, humidity and vibrations as well as the location of shipments.
Another example is the use of mobile devices to track and assist truck drivers in their daily operations. With the use of custom built apps, data can be collected on a driver location throughout the day. The use of paper can also be greatly minimized by storing documents in digital forms. For example, a proof of delivery can be signed through an app, reducing the risk of lost paperwork.
Future of IoT in Supply Chains
As IoT devices continue to come down in cost, their prevalence will continue to increase. As this occurs, companies will continue to find new ways of improving their operations through the use of IoT.
Wearable technologies are an area with great potential that have seen limited implementation/adoption into most supply chain operations. Augmented reality is a technology that can greatly improve the productivity of a worker while also improving safety.
On a factory floor, a worker would be able to complete tasks while being guided by their augmented reality device. The device would point step-by-step on how to operate a machine or giving directions on where to move a certain part on the factory floor.
Safety could be greatly increased by having the system alert workers of when they may be in a dangerous situation. An example could be alerts for truck drivers when they begin to show signs of fatigue.
With the new and evolving technological changes, IoT will continue to have a large impact on supply chain by enabling faster, safer, cheaper and more efficient ways of transporting goods from start to finish. We have already seen many of these changes at work and they will continue to progress as the technologies becomes more readily available and less expensive to implement.