The increased use of technological devices with Internet access has brought about the concept of the ‘Internet of Things “(IoT). Under this concept, there has been a gradual emergence of devices applicable to supply chains that allow to improve them and make them safer and more efficient.
The Internet of Things (IoT) and the exponential growth it will experience in future years will completely transform companies and countries, and it will pave the way for what will be a new era of economic growth and competitiveness, where co-working of people, data and smart devices will have a powerful impact on the industries’ productivity, performance and efficiency.
Predictions suggest that in just five years, the growth of these devices will be multiplied by 30 in the industry. Some experts are already talking about the fourth industrial revolution. This growth will inevitably have a direct impact on the operation of supply chains. Their leaders will need to adapt to this new reality and its great potential and prepare to deal with the implementation of these solutions.
What we initially accepted as a new way of assessing operating efficiency has now become the most powerful tool when seeking growth in unexpected opportunities. This growth focuses on three distinct areas:
1. Increased revenue through increased production and the development of new hybrid business models.
2. Promoting innovation through smart technologies.
3. Transforming the workforce.
The implementation of intelligent technologies in companies is not new. For over a decade, countless devices and solutions have been emerging in the industry. Some examples include bar codes, environmental sensors, RFID (radio frequency identification), GPS or RTLS (real time locating systems). All these systems have helped to prevent or reduce problems and track physical assets.
But the Internet of things goes further, providing instant visibility of supply chains, distribution centers, land and sea ports, which helps eliminate inefficiencies in sectors such as industry, transport and retail, among many others.
The integration of the IoT will facilitate the automation of the entire manufacturing process and will improve the visibility of products throughout the supply chain.
In terms of applications, the IoT will allow to identify, locate and measure the state of business assets, people and transactions.This visibility it provides translates into improved decision making, and the possibility to optimize resources and improve monitoring; which, in turn, helps boost product quality while reducing operating costs and improving delivery times and customer service.
One of the most worrying aspects is the traceability of the product in transit, since it is very difficult to know the exact location of the product at all times, since it leaves the assembly line until it reaches the retailer or end customer. In this regard, for example, the IoT allows to determine the location through the GPS and thanks to a cloud, it stores all the data on it, thus improving and simplifying the process.