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Is the Internet of Supply Chain just hype?

Posted by CeMAT Team on 24-Mar-2017 12:35:27

Is the Internet of Supply Chain just hype?

So you’ve heard about the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT), but what about the Internet of Supply Chain?

With so many of these terms circulating supply chain publications, it can be sometimes hard to differentiate between the Internet of Things, Industrie 4.0, and now the Internet of Supply Chain. But with so many new terms, how do we know if the Internet of Supply Chain is just a passing fad?

With a little more digging into these terms, we found connections between the Internet of Things, Internet of Supply Chain and Industrie 4.0, and on top of that, they all feed into one another, making the distinction between them not only difficult, but in a way superfluous.

This post looks at the Internet of Supply Chain, made possible by the IoT. Take a look at how it is transforming manufacturing, and let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.





In a study conducted in 2014, 46% of manufacturing executives didn’t know what the Internet of Things was. And yes, for the time it was a new concept for those that didn’t keep up with the latest technological changes, but it is projected that IoT devices will grow from 6.6 billion in 2016, to 22.5 billion in 2021. 

The growth and adoption in IoT is not a mere coincidence. People and businesses across the globe alike are reaping the benefits of accessing data that is collected and visualised in digital devices.

Applying the IoT across industry will eventually improve the lives of many, and the Medical Internet of Things and Big Data in Healthcare are already teaching people to be more conscious of their day-to-day activities and daily in-take of calories. But today we’re only going to look at how IoT is transforming the supply chain. It is safe to say after assessing its many benefits that it’s not just another buzzword; take a look at its benefits below.



Improved manufacturing visibility

Continuous tracking and prediction of production performance through IoT will eventually make it much easier for manufacturers to deliver products on time. Changing consumer demands are constantly putting pressure on manufacturers to deliver more variety but less volume. 

Industrie 4.0 and IIoT have made it now possible for manufacturers to track their factory performance in real-time, which means businesses can make improved decisions on the fly.

New technologies have made it possible to feed data from the factory floor into built-in analytics systems that measure everything from machine health to production output against benchmarked KPIs. 

IoT in manufacturing offers a holistic view on three different levels; factory; product; and machines, and depending on the software solution implemented, businesses can be given all that information in easy to digest graphs and tabulated reports. And this bring us to our next point; you’ll be able to manage your factory in real-time.



The data trifecta


We mentioned above how the Internet of Things is connected to other advancements in business technology, and when it comes to data and IoT, one without the other is like a pie with no crust.

We hear in the CeMAT team refer to the connection between the Internet of Things, Big Data and Real-time data as the magical trifecta. The Internet of Things by definition is a network of physical objects that collect data through sensors, and then share that data with other devices.

So let’s put this into a practical example to flesh this idea out a bit. If you’d like the benefits from having improved manufacturing visibility, it obviously doesn’t happy by magic. You need devices that can capture real-time data from devices, and then you need big data and analytics to make sense of that information. This is the data trifecta that can unlock untapped potential across your supply chain. And this is the data trifecta that businesses across multiple industries are scratching at the post to achieve.



Improved operating costs and asset performance

By reducing redundancies and optimising the flow of goods all at once, IoT is set to grow even more in the future because it saves businesses money and time. Thanks to data analytics, it’s now possible for factories and manufacturers to predict issues before they occur, and if something does go wrong, real-time data makes it easier to make the right decision.

There is also a range of asset-performance-management software that’s recently come onto the market, and the results of using such platforms are really quite astounding. 

New asset-management technologies can learn how machines and assets are connected and then gather information from sensors and report how well machines are functioning in the workplace. We covered machine learning in one of our previous posts, but essentially artificial intelligence is generally better at detecting patterns and synergies that humans, and can then schedule maintenance automatically to avoid any downtime.


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Topics: Supply Chain Management