The IoT Affect: Changing the Game for Manufacturers and Distributors

By: | Category: Distribution / Manufacturing

The spread of The Internet of Things (IoT) has reached critical mass. The manufacturing and distribution industries are leading in IoT and unsurprisingly so. One of the greatest benefits of the IoT is how it can dramatically improve operating efficiencies, and this continues to lead emerging and growing manufacturers and wholesale distributors in the adoption of IoT.

A fundamental element of this adoption is figuring out where IoT fits into business strategies. Budget constraints, bandwidth, inhouse expertise and technical resources makes it even more crucial for a growing company to know in what areas they need to make an IoT investment. In this post we’ll have a look at the five major areas ChainLink Research investigated where manufacturers and distributors are implementing IoT.

1. On the plant floor – Sensors have been used in manufacturing plants for decades often only for local control of a machine and process. With IoT more value can be derived from sensors. IoT brings greater connectivity, peer-to-peer/machine-to-machine communications capabilities, more standardization, increased analytic capabilities, and greater connectivity to integration with ERP systems. It augments already existing systems in the factory to allow for increased automation and control.

2. In supply chain and logistics – IoT is set to revolutionize the supply chain with operational efficiencies. The increase in ecommerce and small order fulfillment has strained the ability to find enough warehouse labor, leading to increasing use of warehouse management systems for automation. IoT also provides Asset Tracking. Tracking numbers and bar codes used to be the traditional approach for managing goods throughout the supply chain. IoT offers the potential for more real-time tracking of products with information such as the temperature, humidity, shock and vibration of goods. IoT also offers Vendor Relations, Forecasting and Inventory, Connected Fleets and Scheduled Maintenance.

3. In service and repair – Predictive maintenance is a big deal, limiting equipment downtime and improving safety. For instance, if a machine is down connected sensors can automatically pinpoint where the issue is occurring and trigger a service request or predict when a machine will likely breakdown. It reduces the number of emergency situations that require very expensive logistics and labor. This can save a company tremendous time and money.

4. Incorporated into products – IoT is transforming the way products are made and delivered. IoT provides end user visibility. Manufacturers are embedding sensors, connectivity, and intelligence into their products so they can transmit back data such as how the product are being adopted, frequency of use, duration and time of use, relative popularity of different functions, and novel or unexpected ways in which the products are being used.

5. Creating value-added services – After initial product sales, IoT built into products enables the possibility to add on many value-add services, subscriptions, and apps, which are additional revenue streams.

Diverse machine-level data, and real-time streaming characteristics requires an integrated set of IoT gateways, IoT applications, and enterprise applications. Traditional ERP systems are not designed to absorb these kinds of data. However, an ERP system that has good integration capabilities, the flexibility to incrementally add new capabilities, and a solid roadmap for IoT, machine learning, and advanced analytics can help companies along the IoT journey.

Contact our manufacturing experts today to learn more about how we can help you achieve your IoT aspirations with our diverse suite of modern technology enabled solutions designed to help unleash the potential of your business.