IoT empowers the supply chain in many ways
The Internet of Things, increasingly ubiquitous in business, manufacturing, and consumer activity, can empower the supply chain in a number of significant ways, according to Tony Kontzer, manufacturing technology analysis for TechTarget.
IoT’s impact on some of the more prominent features of supply chain operation, such as awareness and visibility, are increasingly apparent. But Kontzer argues that this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Sensors that monitor manufacturing equipment are not new, but adding their input to physical plant management can increase efficiency, fault tolerance, and analytics, he argues.
Kontzer quotes George Favalaro of PricewaterhouseCooper, who made the case for real-time communication between machines in production environments, for the purpose of identifying inefficiencies and equipment wear/failure when they happen: “If your equipment is starting to wear and is drawing more energy, you want to know that, and you don’t want to know it in three or four months, you want to know it right away.” This real-time sensory communication can be leveraged for climate adjustment, identifying leaks and other useful savings.
Detection and prediction of malfunctions increases the value of IoT in manufacturing, enabling machines to be shut down when failure is imminent, making the environment safer and minimizing the impact of a shutdown. Moreover, IoT can increase the accuracy and improve the logistics in equipment repair by providing additional information on an equipment failure up front.
Finally, adding this data to the overall flow of information between supply chain partners can be invaluable in disruption management, minimizing the impact of manufacturing downtime and production shortfalls.