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IoT in Supply Chain Transformation: Five Reasons Why Your Company Needs It

IoT in Supply Chain Transformation: Five Reasons Why Your Company Needs It


by Sunil Wahi, Head, Supply Chain Business, Asia Pacific, Oracle Corporation

In today’s fast-moving e-Commerce landscape, businesses have to be ready and be able to capture and fulfill customer orders anywhere, anytime while simultaneously lowering logistics costs. Now, more than ever, market leaders across industries also recognise the shortcomings of relying on rigid, legacy applications for logistics. To advance in competitive markets, businesses are adopting modern, flexible, end-to-end supply chain solutions. To stay flexible and innovative, companies need to connect processes, empower employees and simplify operations and the associated supply chain systems.

Logistics and supply chain transformations are possible today as a result of disruptive technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT). With the visibility and analytics delivered by connected devices, companies can make the right decisions at the right time, safeguarding profitability and customer service. Small percentages in improvement for a business could mean the difference between establishing competitive advantage, and staying two steps behind the digital curve.

Here are five key reasons why organisations across every industry need to adopt IoT into their supply chain transformation strategy:

  1. It Helps Improve Business Maturity by Increasing Visibility Across Siloed Business Functions

With the evolution of digital business, operating models are shifting to derive business value and competitive differentiation from visibility and predictive capabilities. The digital journey begins by integrating siloed functions into end-to-end driven complete architectures. IoT is the digital thread that brings these functions together.

  1. It Will Drive Innovation & Increase Production with Data Analytics

Equipment breakdowns can be extremely costly to organisations. By being able to receive real-time data on how machinery is operating, businesses can quickly diagnose a problem before a catastrophic failure has a chance to reduce margins. With IoT, a company can also compare one factory to another and take appropriate measures to ensure all factories and production lines are running smoothly.

IoT breaks down the barrier between the customer and the organisation. With data provided by connected devices, and by cycling that data back into the business, businesses can make intelligent decisions that start with service and drive new innovations that meet customer expectations.

  1. It Will Help Improve Efficiency with Fleet Monitoring

Companies can now deliver real-time insights into how their fleet is being operated and interacting with the environment. Connecting fleets and cargo to IoT empowers companies to keep equipment on the road, improve customer experience with improved estimated-time-of-arrival (ETA) forecasting, and reduce unnecessary costs. IoT also enables businesses to track driver behaviors and utilise data analytics to perform predictive maintenance. Companies can make informed decisions and leverage predictive intelligence that adds value and optimise supply chains.

  1. It Will Help Gain Real-time Insights from Connected Assets

By tracking assets in real time from any device, businesses can gain a valuable understanding of where assets are and how they are performing. When an asset needs preventative maintenance, it can automatically notify field service technicians to assess the situation. With the ability to monitor the environment of an asset for temperature, humidity, and location, companies can also reduce costly waste from spoilage or even know when an asset has been moved to prevent possible theft. Insights from connected assets enable organisations to predict maintenance and streamline supply chain to enhance overall customer experience.

  1. It will Help Monitor Workers to Mitigate Risk

By connecting employees to wearable IoT, companies can gain greater visibility into their worksites. In hazardous conditions, a company can monitor the health, location, and compliance of individual workers to ensure safety. With the data collected, businesses can improve policies, adhere to regulations, and prevent accidents. IoT-enabled automation and labour tracking will deliver increased productivity and reduce costly mistakes.

Signals from IoT-enabled devices are growing exponentially and represent an opportunity for organisations that are able to manage, interpret, and leverage them. Organisations with the tools to integrate device data into business processes and applications can gain critical predictive insights and drive cost-effective actions. In essence, IoT solutions enable businesses to deliver innovative new services faster and with less risk to their customers.

Automating Business Processes and Operations with IoT

With the rise in eCommerce, logistics and supply chain divisions and companies need to move faster and more efficiently than before. Adopting solutions that enable businesses to detect, analyse, and respond to IoT signals and incorporate insights into existing and rapidly evolving market capabilities, will be extremely beneficial for businesses in the long run.

IoT Applications support three important functions: device registration and data collection, signal analysis and interpretation, and connection to specific business processes. By adopting technology that applies advanced, predictive analytics to these device signals, the applications can calculate complex business-specific KPIs and trigger automated actions in real time.

Businesses should not adopt technology just for the sake of having the latest and greatest capabilities. They must first understand what problems they are trying to solve, learn how a new technology may be a solution to that problem, and ensure they align it with their overall business strategy. In the case of IoT, a company can utilise available resources, take appropriate steps, and increase efficiency that improves their business maturity.

About the Author

Sunil Wahi is heading the Supply Chain Business at Oracle Corporation, Asia Pacific. In this role, his responsibilities include leading the Business strategy, go to market initiatives on Oracle’s Digital Supply Chain Solutions comprising of Logistics, IOT Applications & Supply Chain Planning in the Cloud. Previously, he was the Sales Leader for Oracle’s ERP Cloud Business for South East Asia Region developing the business cross industry verticals.

Prior to Oracle, he was at SAP leading their HANA In-Memory Computing Platform Business driving revenue for S/4 HANA ERP & Big Data Solutions growing it in South East Asia from the early days when HANA was announced. He has been a public speaker in major Supply Chain Roundtables, Logistics events in Asia like the Express logistics & Supply chain Conclave, Supply Chain Asia, SCM Logistics World, etc.

He has also executed large scale consulting & business process reengineering implementations in the Middle East across Automotive, Oil & Gas, Retail and Manufacturing Industries. He refined his Analytical & Social Intelligence Skills attending the Chicago Booth Executive MBA Program in 2010. Sunil also provides Start Up mentoring support as part of his Chicago Booth Entrepreneurship Program working with companies in the space of new technologies.