How The Internet of Things Is Improving Supply Chains
One of the biggest opportunities for businesses lies within the Internet of Things (IoT) enhanced supply chain. With a collection of interconnected physical devices that can monitor, report on, send and exchange data using device sensors to measure specific aspects such as location, temperature, speed of movement, and other environmental factors, it is possible for you to improve supply-chain efficiency and unlock new revenue opportunities. There has never been a better time to consider adding IoT capabilities to your logistics facilities than now. You can enhance quality management throughout the supply chain by having real-time inventory tracking and management of surety bonds and other paperwork. This can take your logistics operational capacities to the next level. Take a look at how IoT is improving supply chain management. Image Source  

Monitoring and Real-Time Tracking

Lost shipments and misplaced inventory are slowly becoming a thing of the past. You can place IoT sensors on your goods to enable you to track the location and condition of your items at all times while they are in transit.  By mapping every stage of your shipment’s supply chain and having control over product movement, you are able to improve the planning of routes and transit modes and have contingency plans to speed up the supply chain. If you deal in items such as food and chemicals, you will need to keep them under certain ideal conditions. Smart sensors can help you monitor such items, with the ability to monitor your shipment’s overall conditions such as fluctuations in temperature, humidity, and pressure. You can also detect any problems during transit such as spillage, ensuring goods arrive intact and usable.  

Improves Digital Marketing

Digital ads wouldn’t be so annoying if they were relevant and showed up at the right time. With the help of IoT, you can embed things like GPS trackers, sensors, and even everyday objects with electronics and internet connectivity to make them smart.  These smart devices can connect to the cloud and be remotely controlled to communicate with each other and reveal patterns in product usage. You can use the data from IoT-connected devices to understand the everyday lifestyle of your customers and possibly read their minds by having the ability to accurately forecast demand.  With these insights from IoT, you can determine when customers need to replace products, the types of products they would like, and the factors influencing their purchase patterns.  You would also be able to identify the ideal markets where your products will sell the most and showcase your products on the right platform at the right time. IoT can also help you in marketing automation. Without having to spend lots of money and time gathering customer data, IoT can automate this process allowing you to get relevant data quickly with very little effort and at low costs. Image Source  

Improved Paperwork Management

If you want a smooth supply chain operation, paperwork management is a key factor you must consider.  IoT helps you to instantly move away from tedious manual paper methods to instantaneous digitalization and connectivity with more streamlined document management, thereby increasing your productivity and improving workflow operations. IoT integrates and works well with printers, smart connected scanning solutions, and document scanning software to track and manage all data in real-time, automate processes, manage resources and alert you when something isn’t working quite right.  This will save you time, money, and stress by reducing the burden of tasks that are usually manually done. When you pair IoT with advanced capture software such as ILINX Advanced Capture, smart connected solutions, and networked scanners, you will increase your productivity by eliminating the risk of manual errors, optimizing time, and gathering data that provides you with useful insights.  

Improving Inventory Solutions

Inventory control is also key in warehouse and supply chain management. You can install IoT sensors with a variety of components to help manage inventory more efficiently by automatically tracking and analyzing inventory positions and stock levels of several high-value elements. With IoT inventory control technologies such as smart shelves, you can monitor your supply levels in real-time and prevent shortages while easily predicting future inventory needs. Warehouse errors and inaccurate operations can be costly. IoT devices can help reduce errors and increase processing speeds and overall warehouse efficiency. Installing IoT sensors will help you monitor the movement and use of material and other assets inside your warehouse, and track en route inventory, with the ability to identify where and when goods are delayed in transit.  This aids in emergency planning and helps you identify alternative ways of speeding up the supply chain.  

Improves Contingency Planning

If you are dealing with perishable products, maintaining a stable temperature is important to enable them to last longer. Did you know that according to The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, up to one-third of food perishes on transit every year? With IoT sensing technology you can easily avoid this by keeping track of the temperatures of your products and have proper contingency plans. You can also manage uncertainties and challenges within the entire supply chain process. IoT gives you the opportunity to go ahead with a number of factors that may prove difficult to predict or control.  Uncertainties such as traffic delays or other delay-inducing occurrences on the highway will be a thing of the past if you make use of sensor-enabled IoT solutions to plan for clear routes. This technology offers you real-time alerts and data that will increase your speed of risk mitigation while providing you with flexible contingency plans. IoT collects all data required to create a proper emergency plan, taking into consideration the unforeseen events that might occur on the way. Photo by Reproductive Health Supplies Coalition on Unsplash  

Final Thoughts

IoT technologies will allow you to better manage your operations from production through to delivery. It will transform your supply chain to be more efficient, shorter, and increasingly transparent. IoT will become your eyes and brain, helping you spot trends and opportunities to make pivotal decisions for your business. In case there is a problem, you can see it and resolve it before it negatively impacts your supply chain.
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