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The Internet of Things (IoT): Opportunities for Smarter Supply Chains

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. 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.

*This is an excerpt of an article from IndustryWeek.com. You can read the full article by clicking here.
Written By: Maha Muzumdar, Vice President, Supply Chain, Products Business Group, Oracle and Margie Steele, Principal Consultant, Oracle