What the Internet of Things could do for the science of supply chain management

Internet of ThingsSince the Internet first impacted on the business world back in 2002, it has revolutionized the way that that commerce takes place. The ripples of the shock waves are still being felt, but a new tsunami awaits the global community, and that is the so-called Internet of Things (IoT).

What is the Internet of Things?

For the uninitiated, the Internet of Things is a scenario whereby everything, (animals, objects and people will all have unique ID tags that will one day allow data to be transferred over the Internet. There will be no human interaction; the IoT is 100% automated. It may sound a little like “Big Brother”, but in the commercial world it promises a new dawn as far as the availability of current data is concerned.
As well as benefiting the manufacturers of products, the IoT has the wherewithal to exert huge influence on the mechanics of global supply chain operations.

The attraction of real-time data

The supply chain is made up from many elements that encompass manufacture, assembly, shipping or transportation, warehousing and distribution of all consumer products. Through the interaction of the IoT, manufacturers and other proponents of the supply chain process will be able to monitor and predict consumer demand as never before. It will afford them the ability to track what is happening and make critical decisions based on what their analysis tells them. The key point is that the data will unadulterated. There is no human interference.

Predictive performance modeling

Let’s look at the performance of a large, complicated piece of plant. The failure of a small, seemingly insignificant component within the overall structure of any piece of plant or equipment can be critical. It can make the equipment become extremely inefficient resulting in the loss of millions of dollars to its owners in terms of lost revenue. But when IoT feedback is analyzed automatically and robotically as it were, the use of the real-time data can lead to a decision being made immediately to isolate and maybe shut down that equipment. Of course, the monitoring must be done with pinpoint accuracy. But when it is set correctly, it facilitates the possibility of instant decision-making to forestall loss making.
The final decision-making process must, of course, rely on human interaction to have the final say.

The ultimate supply chain dream

The IoT could be used in the predictive analytic processes for both manufacturers and supply chain management devotees. Factories in today’s modern world send the millions of pieces of data to their respective servers for ongoing analysis. This technology now allows businesses to forecast very accurately when a machine is going to break down far in advance; in some instances months in advance. It enables us interact and prevent it from happening. This scenario can be used by the supply chain fraternity to ensure that the supply chain is able to detect glitches in advance of them happening and take appropriate avoiding action. It’s the ultimate supply chain dream

The need for an upgrade to network security

The one big drawback in IoT technology is its security. Too many businesses and enterprises do not have the appropriate network security measures in place. This will need to be addressed before manufacturers, or the supply chain itself can ready itself to interface with these networks.

Will we ever be able to realize the full potential of the IoT and if so, how can we help to bring it about? Let us know your thoughts on the feedback section below.

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