IoT in Smart Supply Chains
Supply chain and logistics, redefined
Supply chain and logistics operations are no longer what they used to be: inefficient, laborious, manual processes where things often went wrong due to the lack of traceability and accountability. Thanks to recent technological innovations in hardware and software, modern supply chains are optimized for performance, security, end-to-end asset traceability and origin provenance. RFID, GPS, enterprise tech, IoT, AI and blockchain are some of the innovative technologies responsible for the complete transformation of this sector to its state today.
The role of IoT in intelligent supply chain operations
Supply chain administration is a cumbersome process that involves the close monitoring of complex processes from logistics and payments administration to tracking lost or damaged assets, filing insurance claims, and quality assurance along the way. In addition, efficient supply chain operations depend on the effectiveness and timeliness of multiple third-party organizations that aren’t easy to oversee.
To remain competitive in a global landscape, suppliers must enable the complete disclosure of their processes at all stages in the supply chain lifecycle – the customers of today demand real-time transparency and accountability. To achieve this, all systems must be fully integrated with each other and functioning well. An autonomous, smart supply chain platform, which comprises connected, IoT devices can ensure that incidents are foreseen and forewarned before they take place – thus making them more easily preventable. This functionality is very valuable when it comes to the continued efficiency of enterprise and manufacturing operations whose success relies on the timely availability of raw materials provided by the global supply chain.
Benefits of integrating IoT into your supply chain
When integrated with more traditional supply chain management systems, IoT tech has the potential to enable unprecedented levels of effectiveness, connectivity, security and communication. IoT devices can do this by tracking and sharing everything about an asset, its origin and whereabouts at any given time. Adding AI and blockchain to the mix can introduce an innovative and even more powerful element to this tech stack.
The data that’s gathered by IoT and IT systems can provide greater transparency into logistics and supply operations, highlighting inefficiencies and opportunities to reduce costs, foresee future market trends and get an edge. A well-optimized and secure supply chain can also help you save on administration overhead and costs, while IoT devices and apps can play a big role in achieving this.
IoT applications in supply chain and logistics
Smart devices and IoT have been successfully implemented and used in logistics and supply chain networks in a variety of ways. Coupled with blockchain apps, this technology enables real-time oversight of the entire supply chain, making it more secure and traceable. Parameters like place and time of origin, ports of entry, passage through sorting facilities, detailed cargo attributes (i.e. temperature, weight), arrival at destination, etc. can all be easily tracked. GPS-enabled, sensing devices provide real-time data to spedition companies, cargo suppliers and recipients. IoT can also prevent cargo tampering, weight bloating and falsification – issues that have plagued supply chains since their early days.
Outlook for the digital transformation of supply chains
Before incorporating connected devices, apps and systems, blockchain and AI into your supply chain and logistics operations, it’s important to ensure that your organization has reached a certain level of digital maturity – in other words, all platforms are running smoothly, systems are well integrated and easy to plug into via API. This will enable the smooth implementation of additional functionality, devices and systems – and the increased efficiency of your business operations and processes.
The recent spread of the Corona virus worldwide has introduced new challenges to the way supply chains have traditionally functioned and has further underscored the importance of efficient and infallible IT systems that can help suppliers respond adequately to unexpected circumstances outside of their control.
If you’re looking for a reliable software development partner to help you build your next supply chain or logistics application, we’d like to talk to you.