The internet of things has changed everyday life for the more convenient. It’s likely you’re aware of smart light bulbs and fridges that make household tasks simpler, but this same technology can be a powerful tool to increase your bottom line and reduce volatility when applied to your supply chains and not just when it comes to the future of self-driving vehicles. Here are just some of the examples of how IOT-leveraged supply chains can create better outcomes for your business:
Most supply chains are built to be transparent by creating tracking notifications when the box’s barcode is scanned at junctures in the supply chain journey called nodes. But for some delicate deliveries, an occasional check in along its route simply isn’t enough. Enter IOT tracking. By including a GPS tracker inside your box, you can access its exact location anywhere in the world at any moment. This is particularly useful when a shipment gets off track or experiences unforeseen delays. Being able to see your product in route can bring instant relief and provide an updated ETA quickly for improved customer service.
3PLs armed with IOT technology in the warehouse have the capability to constantly monitor and adjust temperature, humidity and other environmental factors without human interference for goods with climate-controlled needs like pharmaceuticals and electronics. In the case of damaged goods, the documentation provided by trackers has the capabilities to pinpoint the time and location of the damage to strengthen accountability with shipping partners. These kinds of automations and many more lead to reduced downtime that can lead to increased productivity and margins.
Having to fill out, track down, transport, and file papers is pretty much the worst. But IOT-enhanced supply chain platforms allow for easy access to all of the dynamic metrics and documents you may need at your fingertips in moments without printing. Not only that, quick data transfer systems reduce the need for paperwork with supply chain workers like truck driver broker bonds, reducing turnaround time in the warehouse and each checkpoint down the line.
More Accurate Forecasting
IOT-based systems automatically collect data that gives insight into every aspect of your supply chain. By its very nature, this means removing the possibility of human error and reducing human labor when harnessed for consumer demand forecasting. Even more advantageous, however, is the granular data that an IOT system can collect easily but would otherwise be impossible for humans to manage. Each minor piece of information builds out more nuanced forecasting systems to help your business take advantage of fluctuations in demand without increasing your warehousing costs.
In addition to more accurate forecasting that dictates inventory levels, you can now use inventory sensors for improved warehousing services that will notify you when you’ve reached restocking levels. Inventory audits are expensive and difficult to conduct, not to mention how they can be imperfect and don’t always account for theft and damaged goods. But IOT makes active inventory monitoring possible as well as automated restocking orders to take one more task off your plate.
IOT-enhanced supply chains are becoming more and more common, but their growth is sure to continue. Get in on the ground floor and give your business the advantages early by investing in technology that can help you reach more customers efficiently and with better service.