Internet of Things in the Supply Chain
- Published: 21 May 2017
What is the internet of things (IoT)?The internet of things (IoT) is the idea that in the future all technology will be interconnected, sharing information between each device and, for now, guiding a human to perform an action while being more informed. It is inevitable that this happens. And we are seeing this today, albeit not as seamless and to a smaller extent. For example, you could turn off your sprinklers when the pizza delivery guy is in the neighbourhood. This does take some setup (using the app IFTTT), but it demonstrates the idea of connected devices: pizza website, IFTTT app, and sprinklers working together.
There is a lot of potential for the IoT to remove the tedious aspects of our lives. This is especially true when you apply the IoT to the supply chain.
IoT Uses for Transportation
Transit visibility is a major issue when it comes to the supply chain. Even with the best transportation management system (TMS) money can buy, there is still a level of uncertainty. The IoT can rid the supply chain of the fog of transit (like ‘fog of war’) – with the right implementation.
For in-transit visibility, it’s imperative that cloud-based GPS and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology are used, as they provide identity, location, and other relevant tracking information. Tracking freight truck departure, arrival, and general location is made easy when data is provided by devices and shared via the cloud for other devices and humans to read (the IoT in a nutshell).
IoT Uses for Warehousing
Some items in the warehouse come with a lot of storage requirements. The most common request is storing something within a temperature range. The IoT, for example, can be used for temperature regulation by linking temperature monitors and air conditioning, heating, and humidity control systems. Not only that, but if maintenance was needed, the internet-connected air conditioning units would request said maintenance to the warehouse manager, so that the manager can decide how to proceed with this data. The device in need of maintenance could, if given permission, book and pay for a technician without any human interaction.
This functionality is, to a degree, present already in ADLI Logistics’ warehouses, but there is much more potential with the IoT to allow a seamless coordination of devices (such as air and humidity control units) that can communicate with human employees. We just have to wait for such devices to be built.
The internet of things is inevitable and the effect of the IoT on the supply chain can only be guessed. One thing can be certain, however: that the IoT will become instrumental in the supply chain and will be the marker of a successful company at any step of the supply chain.
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