How Internet of Things is reshaping Supply Chain ?
There has been enough buzz and predictions about the future of IoT with initial projections proved to be highly optimistic. “Future of IoT is still up in the air. However, seems it has created some space in defining how businesses will use it.” Well, there are many factors influencing the adoption of internet of things in the business. With IoT’s key technology of radio-frequency identification (RFID) implementation, IoT has started reshaping supply chains today.
As technology matures supply chain professionals find the potential impact of IoT on the industry in matured sense. Today, everything has become “Smart”. Seemingly ordinary items like ovens and kettles are being armed with sensors and microchips, connected with internet. Thus, helping human and making life easier. There IoT aids your supply chain by providing smart inventory management.
Despite the fact that inventory management touches most parts of business, retailers often focus on it when current system can’t handle the load. To increase profits while staying ahead of potential inventory issues, it’s critical for businesses to implement a streamlined inventory management solution early on. Neglecting inventory can leave gaping holes in other aspect of a retailers’ business. Such gaps further cause poor customer service and missed sales opportunities.
Since decades, the complexity associated with the supply chain has been the one of the biggest challenges in maintaining an effective supply chain. Effectiveness of inventory management is vital part in the any kind of enterprise whether it is manufacturing organization or a kind of eCommerce startup. This complexity increases with the increase in customer preferences and the returns options availability, consider retail industry. To be more competitive and efficient at the same time, inventory h to managed adequately.
For example, if a truckload of shipment is to arrive late to the manufacturer, the intelligent network of IoT will notify customers immediately and can aid in making adjustments to avoid any shut downs. This end-to end visibility will balance the supply and demand and optimize the inventory levels, improving further planning and forecasting, which directly leads to cost savings.
Another significant area where Internet of Things can greatly impact the supply chain is in logistic services. Not only managing the demand levels, IoT can also aid in your business by eliminating leakages in supply chain, hence eradicating losses.
Would you want to stock items which are not edible anymore? With the temperature and humidity sensors installed on the food and beverages packages in transit will send you real time data on a regular basis when your goods are in transit. The moment you notice temperature/humidity beyond the limits specified by you in the supplier level agreement, you can terminate the contract there itself and save yourself accepting poor stocks. Such an Internet of Things enabled system helps you save costs by maintaining right stock in inventory and maintains your reputation by not selling inedible stocks to further downstream customers.
Similar way IoT can also mitigate the risk of any deviation from process conditions while your stock is in warehouse by real time monitoring and taking action in the limited period as and when required. Multiple others ways IoT Can aid Inventory management and convert your traditional warehouse into a smart warehouse are live Inventory cycle count, automated shipment receiving, misplaced product detection, live restock requests, optimized checkout wait-time, shrinkage detection & actual product look up leading to a complete IoT enabled “Smart” warehouse.
Smart Inventory is a fully integrated set of modules that completely controls the inventory cycle. Smart inventory system (SIS) consist of various integrated modules such as open to buy module, merchandise planning, easy order creator, receiving and distribution, dynamic model stocks and automatic stock balancing and replenishment.
Why Smart inventory matters?
- Increased sales- Implementing an inventory management platform enables you to automatically pull sales order data from multiple channels. Hence data can be collated into one location forming a centralized information system.
- Customer Retention- People don’t like surprises, especially stock outs. Improve customer retention by implementing an inventory management system that gives your team quick access to stock quantities. You can act much faster to avoid situations that may lead to negative reviews.
- Improved Productivity-As your team grows, it takes a lot of energy to get new employees up-to-speed. Simple cloud-based inventory management software allows you to easily train your team members on how your operations work. You’ll all be working from a centralized system that eliminates confusion and encourages employee engagement.
How Internet of things is currently helping in Smart Inventory Management ?
- Data Insight improving the Business intelligence- Smart devices helps in capturing the customer’s behavior and purchasing pattern. They help in promoting specific products individually to each customer (target marketing). Companies with the help of these data insights can come up with effective advertising.
- Digital Shelf- A sensor is placed on the shelf that can communicate about Inventory stock levels on each shelf. Sensor further reads smart tags on the products kept in warehouse. Another sensor can track foot traffic to determine whether the product placement is attracting enough passers-by.
- Inventory tracking and monitoring across stages of supply chain– IoT concepts to ensure uniform temperature and conditions at each stage. Eg: Denimwall is harnessing garment level RFID technology in order to track inventory movements
- Speed & accessibility-Companies after application of IoT in their supply chain are able to have instant communication about any de-bottleneck in supply chain. They are addressing problems as soon as they come and in some cases, even predicting failure and doing preventive correction. E.g. Rivigo is using IoT for route optimization and for improving truck performance.
- Robo-carts-Robo-carts can track customers’ movement. They can also detect product theft before the person leaves the store area. Robo-carts can also communicate which shelf have become empty and needs immediate replacement.
- Warehouse management-Modern warehouses will use humanoids, robots, IoT enabled devices, latest machines and specialized in-store vehicles. Such warehouses are able to tally inventory with SAP data. Also it coordinates with up-down racks, in-out stocks, product identification, product picking and in-house transportation.
- Ensuring 100% regulatory compliance-Since the pressure of tighter US-FDA regulations and audits is in place now. The pressure for ensuring suitable conditions (temperature, humidity etc.) has forced many companies to adopt IoT enabled technologies. E.g.: An Indian company Tagbox is helping many Indian pharmaceutical companies in cold chain monitoring.