The age of computer and robotics is being overtaken by the advent of big data and Internet of Things (IoT). IoT is stirring up a revolution in all major industrial areas with a network of interconnected devices sending out commands to be executed without human intervention. Supply chain planning is one such area where IoT is altering the market landscape. Organizations adopting IoT are already reaping its benefit with reduced overall costs and increased efficiency. In the area of the supply chain planning process, IoT enables the business to monitor, communicate, analyze, and take actions in real time.
How can IoT Help Perfect the Supply Chain Planning Process?
Automate Inventory Levels
IoT can automate the process of maintaining optimal inventory levels. With the help of RFID and barcodes, sensors can identify stock levels for each item and automatically place orders to the suppliers.
Various sensors in the manufacturing unit such as temperature, humidity, vibration, and speed can gather data and feed it to the central unit. The unit can thus analyze such data and alert users before a possible machine breakdown so that the necessary maintenance task can be performed.
IoT significantly improves the in-transit visibility within the logistics ecosystem. Cloud-based GPS and RFID technologies allow for accurate tracking in terms of identity, location, and other information. Suppliers can then automate shipping and delivery by gathering data on estimated time of arrival, along with maintaining and tracking the quality of the product in-transit with temperature and humidity sensors.
Apart from these, IoT is also being used in fleet management, building intelligent networks, vendor management, and many other applications.
How Walmart Used IoT to Create a Competitive Advantage?
Walmart has recently secured a patent for a system of connected sensors to monitor customer’s product consumption patterns. The sensors are attached to products and are identified using technologies such as RFID, Bluetooth, bar codes, and radio frequencies. These sensors track how a product is used and its location. For instance, the tag reader on a fridge could scan the number of items inside it and monitor the food condition and reorder as per necessity. It analyzes usage pattern of the product to determine when a replenishment is required or if the item should be replaced or upgraded.
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