Organizations of all sizes search for ways to bolster supply chain continuity. For many, technology associated with the Internet of Things may be the answer. Most firms are familiar with these devices and their popularity among consumers. Everyday technology users do indeed buttress the market, employing more than $5.2 billion connected accessories worldwide, according to research from Gartner. However, businesses also use IoT devices – over 2 billion of them, in fact. These fixtures work in a variety of operational environments, from creative offices and conference rooms to shop floors and shipping and fulfillment centers.
Firms looking to make improvements to their supply chains should harness the power of these versatile devices and catalyze true transformation. Here are some of the ways IoT technology can usher in such revenue-building change:
Improved forecasting and tracking
The modern marketplace dictates that organizations maintain optimal scalability to address ever-changing consumer trends. This requires the implementation of flexible processes and a bit of foresight, usually gleaned through forecasting. IoT technology facilitates this, allowing users to monitor stock in real-time and plan for shifts, according to Manufacturing Business Technology. This ability also comes in hand when errors occur, as IoT fixtures transmit data-entry mishaps and other mistakes as soon as they happen, allowing stakeholders to address them before serious supply chain problems materialize.
Overall, this technology gives warehouse managers the accurate, timely data they need to make important decisions about the products that flow in and out of their facilities.
Better equipment maintenance
Manufacturing firms employ complex shop floor assets to get the job done. However, when mechanical problems occur, the supply chain collapses, as shipping and fulfillment facilities run out of stock. Products go undelivered and customer satisfaction declines. With this in mind, most companies employ large maintenance teams tasked with maintaining equipment and resolving the occasional hiccup to prevent downtime. However, things still slip through the cracks and when they do, every link in the chain suffers.
Organizations can use IoT technology to address this issue by deploying advanced sensor systems that track production asset performance and catch minor problems before they devolve into devastating setbacks. This methodology, called preventive maintenance, keeps things running smoothly. Of course, this strategy also works in warehouses, most of which use mechanical assets to execute daily duties.
On the surface, this IoT deployment method may seem overly advanced – an idea that has yet to be implemented. In reality, many businesses already leverage sensor technology, including Harley-Davidson, which retrofitted its production assets with advanced performance-tracking IoT back in 2010, The Wall Street Journal reported.
Stronger external relationships
In addition to improving internal workflows, IoT technology can also improve connections with external partners, according to Gartner. How? These fixtures facilitate data sharing among companies, allowing collaborating partners to access a common pool of production data. This transparency eases operations, as well as forecasting and planning activities. This provides the basis for intraindustry innovation, opening up new cost-saving and revenue opportunities across the space.
Companies are expected to spend $9 billion on web-enabled logistics solutions this year, according tor research from Business Insider, meaning many may soon unlock the benefits of this technology and boost their profit margins. Those on the outside looking in should take notice and implement new technology to match quickly advancing competitors. IoT devices are of course the ideal but these solutions cannot do it alone. Organizations should pair them with robust backend systems that facilitate data flow throughout the operation. Here at F&A Data Systems, we offer top-of-the-line warehouse management software that can work in conjunction with other technology to improve supply chain operations and facilitate organizational scalability. We collaborate with networking giants like Dell, Microsoft and Oracle to produce cutting-edge WMS capable of streamlining key internal processes and increasing efficiency and productivity. Do you want to learn more about how our solutions can take your business to the next level? Connect with F&A Data Systems today.