Last modified: May 13, 2015
Agility is needed in an ever-changing market. A supply chain that is transparent with an open configuration can accept the changes that the Internet of Things or IoT will bring. This nascent concept will provide faster communications from device to device without human input. Learn more to get ready for the next wave of communications: the supply chain internet of things.
The Internet of Things is a phrase being coined that refers to a network comprised of “intelligent” devices and sensors that can communicate with each other. IoT promises to provide real-time performance monitoring in a world where machines and applications can self-optimize, self-configure and self-diagnose. The idea seems like a fantasy but look at the Internet of today or even cloud storage. These intangible concepts changed communications and file storage capabilities and methods.
Michael Burkett, managing vice president at Gartner, explains how the IoT devices are being implemented. “Some IoT devices are more mature, such as commercial telematics used in trucking fleets to improve logistics efficiency. Some, such as smart fabrics that use sensors within clothing and industrial fabrics to monitor human health or manufacturing processes, are just emerging.” Looking at the potential now will help an organization create strategies for implementation into current processes. The analyst firm Gartner predicts over 26 billion Internet-connected devices by 2020. Approximately 3.8 billion such devices are believed to be currently in use. The top three industries benefiting from IoT are Manufacturing, Transportation and Utilities, which are all industries ripe to set a solid foundation in the supply chain internet of things.
Organizations can respond promptly to changes with IoT integration into their processes. Undesirable conditions, such as a transportation delay, will do more than set off an alert. Systems can automatically assess priorities, review choices and make problem-solving decisions. Some benefits of additional real data and enhanced intelligent automaticity within the supply chain internet of things are an increase in profits, a reduction in excess product that quickly loses value, faster response to changing client needs or supplier availability, the optimization of shipments and the assurance of complete deliveries.
With IoT, an organization can:
Companies are harnessing the potential of IoT. Their operations, functionality, services and products offered and real-time feedback regarding customer demand are changing as they accommodate and leverage IoT. Some major changes are underway.
GE has pushed its own IoT initiative, the Industrial Internet. It is currently selling outcomes-based services to clients, guaranteeing specific, measurable efficiencies through the use of GE’s smart machines, big data analytics and cloud-aware software platform. GE has changed from providing solely physical assets to offering data.
Domino’s Pizza is remaking their customer service features with technology. The creation of online and mobile ordering service embraces features like a 3-D pizza builder, games, a Pizza Tracker and pizza profiles for their customers.
Retailers are implementing IoT technology. Using Apple’s iBeacon technology, customers receive relevant deals on their smartphones as they walk through different areas in a store. Retailers can change, develop and execute strategies based on real customer preferences and seeing what deals customers respond to and the types of items purchased. These supply chain internet of things technologies provides direct insight into customer demand.
IoT is able to provide pertinent data to end users, create more engagement with customers and use shopping behavior to prompts in real-time to uncover preferences and customer demands. New IOT interfaces and applications allow for more salient information faster with the potential to respond without human input. Built into a supply chain, users will see an increase in end-to-end visibility with clear timely data at all stages. Supply chains can become more agile and responsive to changing conditions, client preferences, and issues, delivering a higher level of service without sacrificing profit.
Will the supply chain internet of things become a blessing or a curse? IoT is a tool and the automaticity it provides companies will prove to be an asset if the management tools and internal processes of supply chains can be equipped to handle the change. Obviously, if competitors are using IoT “smart” devices and getting data faster, critical decisions automated and response time shortened, this is going to separate them from the rest of the group and give them an edge in responding to customers and increasing efficiencies within their organization. These agile leaders will gain market share and customer loyalty in highly competitive industries while satisfying the demands of shareholders.
Flash Global’s FlashTrac offers a highly customizable open-ended construction that can integrate the IoT across multiple platforms and streamline data, prioritizing information for users and decision-makers. The instantly synchronized global system can be set up and implemented within 45 days. Be ready for IoT with FlashTrac.
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