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How IIoT Is Applied to Supply Chain Management 

IIoT Ties A Multitude Of Links In The Supply Chain Together

IIoT Supply Chain

Consumer demands and the “Amazon Effect” are driving new system processes and increasing product quality to improve the bottom line. These new complexities are driving companies to develop and sustain these demands and forecasts through various technological pursuits, but the key platform that can truly reap the rewards for both companies and consumers is IIoT. 

IIoT ties a multitude of links in the supply chain together to provide everyone involved with cohesiveness, transparency, speed and scalability in their product development and delivery. There are now even more tiers in the supply chain across all industries due to globalisation and the Internet bringing us all closer together, yet there are still difficult problems and challenges faced by companies as they try to keep up with these demands. 

In this blog post we’ll discuss how IIoT works in the supply chain and why it can greatly benefit these companies, reduce supply chain friction and increase their speed and quality of products.

Supply Chain Challenges IIoT Tackles 

1. Lost Assets

Asset tracking and inventory management are a key benefit of IIoT in the supply chain due to the implementation of sensors on all assets. It is all too common for goods to go missing in transit, but with these RFID sensors their location can be tracked throughout. Having the right network and systems in place depending on your business strategies can involve tracking and finding the goods when they are in storage for swift delivery, or enable the company to track the delivery times to see if improvements can be made.  Tracking assets can also identify bottlenecks throughout the supply chain, leading to inefficient processes and higher costs. 

2. Asset Quality

Cold chain management solutions involve recording and tracking the temperatures of goods in transit to ensure they don’t spoil by the time they reach their destination. For example, food and medicine may need to be kept at a certain temperature, but if the cargo holder breaks down there may be no way of knowing, therefore ruining the goods and costing a lot of money. If sensors were to be connected to the equipment, the system could be alerted when the temperatures move, and the driver could be warned about the goods spoiling, and have a contingency plan in place.  

3. Globalisation 

Physical supply chains are under pressure as they now have to reach different areas in the world at a fast pace in order to keep up with the various demands. Due to these complexities, companies are uncoordinated and lack the efficient systems that tie the chain together, therefore causing delays. Different countries have different means of operating according to customs and the law, meaning it is more difficult to procure goods. IIoT can provide easier access to information on the goods from the moment they are developed to when they leave the final supplier. Device authentication and verification is inherent to these processes to ensure swift and safe delivery.

How IIoT is Implemented In The Supply Chain

It’s all well and good to think “Oh yes, we need to implement Industry 4.0 now!” but how can you even get started on this new advancement? We’ve spoken before about new industrial and organisational transformations and how important it is to align these processes with your ultimate business goals. 

Here are a few ways IIoT can be implemented to speed up your supply chain:

1. Rather than manually logging in a spreadsheet, the assets can be tracked using an RFID sensor throughout the chain. RFID scanners in each of the factories and warehouses ensures accurate capturing of the goods in one batch, rather than individually scanning the products with a barcode. 

2. Warehouse automation allows robots or cobots to work in unison with staff on the warehouse floor. Because they are connected to the Internet and programmed to do a multitude of tasks, this allows people to take on more complex, low level tasks that further the organisation. 

3. The data of the materials on each of the stages of the chain is linked efficiently, allowing clear communication amongst all that are involved. If there are delays in the chain each stage can be reached out to to figure out why and where the delay is at, as well as using real-time data on the location and environment the goods are in. Working with large delivery companies who also implement RFID and IIoT processes thus ensures safe delivery and track-and-trace models to provide end-to-end live support for customers when they receive their orders and goods. 

Focusing on inventory and quality of goods delivered is becoming even more important today in a consumer-driven world, so being able to develop the right tools and insights to cater to these nuances will give you the competitive edge. If you would like to discuss how IIoT can have a positive impact on your supply chain management system, please contact us today for more information. 


Brian McGlynn, Davra, COO

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