How IoT Solves Global Supply Chain Challenges
Today’s supply chains are more complex than ever before, with goods changing hands multiple times between global suppliers and consumers before they reach their final destinations. Such a high scale of production can quickly present logistical challenges, like how to keep track of returnable industrial packaging (RIP), the loss of which can significantly harm a manufacturer’s bottom line and cause production-halting disorganization. There’s also the potential for more malicious complications to occur, like exposure to cargo theft, which is estimated to account for up to $30 billion in losses annually in the United States alone.
With so many components to account for, it can be difficult for supply chain operators to confidently manage them all effectively—that is, without the proper tools at their disposal. To ensure packages are being handled as efficiently as possible and that losses are kept to a minimum, operators need visibility into the supply chain, which they can achieve using the Internet of Things (IoT).
Increased visibility enables improved performance
With its data collecting and tracking capabilities, the IoT affords operators the strategic oversights needed to optimize the package journey. IoT-enabled devices can be situated at a variety of points along the supply chain—from packaging and loading to distribution and storage—to monitor a package’s progress at each step of the way. Setting up a continuum of IoT sensors to track goods and equipment provides all interested parties with a holistic, up-to-date view of the supplier network, including details regarding shipment location, route and arrival time.
With the ability to monitor where snags in the supply chain may be occurring, operators can optimize every package’s journey. With live location insights, for example, operators can identify if the routes their products are traversing are subject to regular delays and choose more direct ones. Or, with insights into container conditions like temperature, humidity and tilt, operators can proactively be alerted to any changes that may compromise the integrity of fragile or perishable goods.
What to consider for successful IoT deployment
To deliver on their promise of providing continuous updates across global package journeys, IoT devices need to be reachable anywhere, at any time. In order to maximize their value, these devices also need to be low-cost per unit and in operation.
To meet these requirements, IoT devices need to be powered by the 0G network, a low-power, long-lasting network with a range far wider than that of WiFi. Devices connected to this network can transfer small amounts of data at regular intervals to convey key insights like package condition and location. This data not only offers supply chain operators control over the package journey—with alerts into supply chain disturbances, operators can be proactive in replacing products and correcting the situation—but it can also be relayed to the customer to help retailers manage delivery expectations.
The 0G network also promotes flexibility and scalability for IoT investments, which is crucial for making them worthwhile in the long term. Because of IoT’s immense promise to supply chain efficiencies, many operators rush to adopt technologies and, in their haste, neglect to consider how that system can serve future demands. To avoid adopting a system that won’t be able to grow alongside the corporation it’s serving, operators need to confirm their chosen innovation is flexible and scalable, with a network like the 0G network that enables tracking and other data to be sent without any extra infrastructure or additional costs.
The more stops along a package journey—and the more package journeys in general—the greater the odds of complication at some point along the way. With profitability and productivity at stake, supply chain operators need to invest in technologies that provide them with continuous strategic insights into the global supply chain, choosing solutions built to adapt to organizations’ evolving needs. To fuel these investments in the long term, organizations should select reliable, adaptable solutions—such as 0G—that will deliver value for years to come.