Supply chains coordinate and balance people, activities and resources to make and move a product to deliver to customers. It involves the coordination and flow of goods, cash and information. Every company tries to balance and optimize their supply chain to improve profitability and better customer service. The Internet of Things (IoT) is enabling more and faster information across the supply chains for better decisions, planning and execution.

New market opportunities are available to companies in almost every industry from the data that IoT delivers. These new opportunities could be as simple as getting information from sensors about what is happening on the manufacturing plant floor causing automatic manufacturing updates, potential adjustment to customer order delivery dates or even a maintenance work request to handle a detected equipment malfunction. All of these opportunities cause changes to be made to the supply chain.

With IoT becoming much more affordable, companies, for example, are embedding IoT sensors in their products that "phone home" with product status. The supply chain must adapt because now a new service is able to be provided for proactive support and this requires people and activities be instituted to provide this support.

Companies that were previously known for the products they sold are now delving into new areas such as customer service management. For example, a company that sold printers now might also sell subscription services to automatically deliver printing supplies based on actual usage of the printer.

New market opportunities are available to companies in almost every industry from the data that IoT delivers.
 

Companies that were previously known for the products they sold are now delving into new areas such as customer service management. For example, a company that sold printers now might also sell subscription services to automatically deliver printing supplies based on actual usage of the printer. IoT provides the ability to monitor actual customer product usage while the supply chain must adapt to insure that the supplies such as ink are delivered to the customer whereas the previous sales model was to just sell supplies when the customer requested.

The IoT allows organizations to reach outside their own company to build better supply chains. By receiving and sending information to business partners upon sensing a change, companies can adapt and respond more quickly. These benefits have direct impact on top-line revenue and gain unprecedented operational and supply chain efficiencies.

Organizations recognize IoT as a strategic initiative as evidenced by this recent survey conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Zebra Technologies. Key findings include:

  • Over 80% of surveyed firms indicate IoT solutions will be the most strategic technology initiative for their organization.
  • There is a strong IoT solution deployment momentum with nearly 65% of surveyed firms having deployed, or are implementing, IoT.
  • Organizations can achieve a wide range of business benefits from IoT solutions with the leading benefit being improved customer experience.