How IoT Drives a Sustainable Supply Chain

 

Enable a sustainable supply chain that can overcome future challenges with smart technology, like the Internet of Things (IoT). Learn how IoT can better optimize your logistics to meet consumer needs.

What challenges do modern supply chains face in today’s global environment?

  • Disconnected supply chain processes
  • Unsatisfactory customer experiences
  • Lack of visibility and traceability across the supply chain
  • Poor delivery estimations
  • Time-consuming manual processes
  • Slow-moving decisions due to lack of insights and poor forecasting

Supply chains play an important role in every industry for sustainable growth, but they face challenges due to unpredictable disruptions, like COVID-19. All these challenges tell you that you need to be prepared! 

Nowadays, companies strive to enable a sustainable supply chain that’s resilient to disruptions. It’s critical to also meet consumer expectations of a transparent and environmentally conscious brand. Both challenges can be solved by a digital transformation using technology like IoT.

Internet of Things (IoT) is a system of physical objects that transfers any collected data over a wireless network without human assistance. Essentially, IoT allows computers and the internet to manage physical units by using embedded sensors. These technologies can include smart TVs, Amazon Echos to perform various functions through voice, and Fitbits to monitor and syncs your fitness data with other devices.

So, what does IoT have to do with the supply chain?

The simple answer is... a lot! The physical side of your supply chain can truly integrate with your digital data to create a seamless and connected system. For example, a digitally integrated supply chain can track the movement of a product in the warehouse from entry to exit. This is exciting as products with IoT embedded sensors become data points in the system, which can serve you well in achieving a sustainable supply chain.

Supply chains in the current global environment are becoming increasingly complex and dynamic. It’s crucial for the longevity of your own logistics to keep up with consumer needs as well as your business goals. In order to stay competitive and sustainable, companies like yours are focusing on implementing an Industry 4.0 transformation with IoT embedded technologies.

Let’s look at how IoT’s real-time tracking capabilities can create a sustainable supply chain:

 

Synthesize data to give real-time feedback on supply chain logistics.

The transparency granted by IoT technologies provides great insights into the current state of your inventory, your customers, and the marketplace. For example, products with embedded sensors can inform you of the current purchase pattern. Therefore, this technology becomes valuable information on how you can adjust the production volume to accurately reflect the real-time status in the marketplace. 

Even if you have full visibility of your supply chain, that transparency won’t be valuable if the technology doesn’t provide you actionable insights. IoT grants you predictive power to identify potential growth opportunities based on your supply chain's real-time data.

 

Catch and fix supply chain issues before they become bigger problems.

Save time, money, and efficiency by catching potential problems before they could disrupt your supply chain with IoT-sensor equipped machinery throughout your supply chain. To avoid or minimize supply chain disruptions, the technology within IoT flags logistics issues as it happens for you to quickly resolve them. With IoT technology, you gain greater transparency but also smoother functionality of your supply chain.

 

Reduce waste produced by merchandise and goods.

As mentioned previously, you gain valuable insights into your products with IoT-embedded sensors. Not only can you track purchase patterns, but you can also monitor the condition of your products, like heat and humidity, to determine whether they are defective. Catching defective products before they leave the warehouse is crucial to maintain happy customers! You definitely don’t want to ship them something that doesn’t work and give them a poor customer experience with your company.

By detecting defective goods, you’re able to send those merchandise off to be repaired and/or replaced. This is an eco-friendly supply chain strategy that allows for less waste and impact on the environment. For example, tire company Pirelli attached sensors to monitor the production level of its tires and, therefore, avoids discarding tires into landfills. 

 

Ensure the safety of warehouse workers.

With the introduction of IoT technology in the warehouse, employees can avoid work-related accidents. For example, computerized systems can handle repetitive tasks that are potentially hazardous to warehouse workers or wearable technology that can detect and warn employees of dangerous conditions.

Interested in how to ensure warehouse worker safety in your supply chain? Catch us in this webinar: Defeat Supply Chain Disruptions with SAP Shipping & IoT.

 

Become fuel efficient throughout your supply chain processes.

Unfortunately, the transportation of goods between processes contributes to global warehouse greenhouse emissions. To mitigate emission effects, smart technology like IoT detects the best direct route for your goods during the logistics process. As for the last-mile delivery stage, autonomous vehicles are about to drastically transform the supply chain in all industries. Big companies like Amazon are already directing resources into autonomous driving and delivery robots for testing.

 

Eliminate human errors to obtain consistency for higher quality control.

High quality is a universal goal for your company to strive for! Automation enables consistent results that contribute to precise quality control by eliminating human errors. For example, IoT technology increases efficiency by collecting data automatically at the granular level for management to use.

 

A digital transformation of the supply chain that integrates IoT revolutionizes your logistics processes. The technology only continues to evolve with time and, therefore, will develop stronger capabilities to build a resilient and sustainable supply chain. With IoT’s real-time tracking functions, you can ensure your supply chain is on the path to optimized management of inventory/warehouses, transportation, and delivery.

The benefits and potential of IoT in the supply chain are undeniable! It’s time for your company to prepare for the future. Become sustainable for growth!