The Internet of things can greatly enhance supply chain management and related processes. Some major difficulties revolve around understanding the quality and location of assets in the whole supply chain process. Using sensors that provide real-time position, temperature, motion, gravity and other important data can greatly change the enterprise’s supply chain.
The Committee of supply chain management professionals defines a supply chain as “a company involved in the design, assembly and delivery of specific products”.
For example, the supply chain of bananas involves seed suppliers, growers, distribution networks, storage and maturation facilities, logistics and grocery stores. In each step of the process, there are various challenges. For example, what if the goods are lost? How do stakeholders accurately know that a batch of goods may be lost in the whole supply chain?
In addition, considering the limited shelf life of bananas, the shelf life can be extended or reduced according to external conditions, which may affect the storage conditions. If a lot of bananas arrive at the grocery store, who is responsible?
In this article, we will outline several ways in which IOT can greatly enhance supply chain management for all stakeholders.
An explicit way for IOT to improve supply chain management is through asset tracking. It can track not only the final product / commodity, but also various components in the whole supply chain. After unlocking location data, suppliers, distributors and wholesalers can benefit from a more transparent supply chain. Understanding the location of goods in the supply chain can solve various problems, including:
·Find goods to store
·Accurately verify the next steps in the supply chain when the goods arrive
·Track delivery speed and delivery route
There are several ways to obtain the location of goods in the supply chain in real time or incrementally. The sensor receiving the position through GPS can provide the real-time position through the cellular network, but the cost and battery life should be considered when providing the real-time position. The more devices that communicate with the network, the faster the battery consumption. If the sensor has a constant power supply, battery life may not be a major factor in finding the right hardware and network solutions for a particular use case.
All this means that the correct composition of hardware, network, operation and business logic for supply chain management asset tracking solution depends on the exact application that the enterprise is trying to solve.
Another area where the Internet of things improves the supply chain is to release the capacity of non enterprises in the supply chain to verify and ensure the quality of goods produced and transported.
The cold chain management solution is a good example of managing quality throughout the supply chain. In order to ensure quality, many different types of food and drugs need to be kept at specific temperatures throughout the supply chain. Every year, losses caused by high temperatures amount to billions of dollars. For example, if apples or insulin are placed in a truck with a broken air conditioner, they may deteriorate when they arrive at the distributor. Cold chain management solutions are a great help when maintaining asset quality.
For example, leverege’s cold chain management solution. In the demo video, it explains how the user interface and solutions help ensure compliance, monitor the vitality of different products, and, of course, track the location of these products.