The Internet of Things (IoT) is impacting every business sector, but it’s set to change supply chain management and inventory tracking in especially dramatic ways. In 2015, DHL and Cisco predicted that IoT technologies could make an impact of $1.9 trillion or more on supply chain and logistics. While asset tracking is not a new invention, IoT sensors are enhancing its potential and helping to streamline the process of getting parts, resources and products where they are needed, when they are needed.

Radio Frequency Identification in Inventory Tracking

For decades, suppliers have used barcode scanning to track the movement of goods within factories and along shipping routes. With the advent of fresh IoT technologies, though, traditional asset tracking is becoming more sophisticated. For example, radio frequency identification (RFID) tagging and cloud-based GPS systems can provide real-time monitoring of item location, eliminating time gaps between scanning stations. Stakeholders who use this technology can locate items at any point along their journey. By incorporating RFID tagging, trackers can identify the exact location of a shipment and take into account extraneous factors such as traffic and weather conditions, using the combined data to predict an accurate arrival time.

RFID technology can also be utilized to locate specific items on a pallet shipment, allowing those on the receiving end to unpack most-needed elements first. In addition, companies could potentially use RFID to track assets such as equipment throughout a supply chain.

See also: Container Tracking Systems: Everything You Need To Know

Consumption Management

IoT sensor technology can help enterprises monitor consumption of resources such as lubricants, gas, paper, electricity and other consumables. Such tracking reduces personnel expenses, resulting in cost savings for the company. Data analysts can review the information generated by IoT sensors and use it to predict future needs—and to recommend energy- and resource-saving decisions. For example, an energy consumption management system can enable load balancing, provide remote access to equipment operations and create reports on energy usage cycles.

Anticipation of Customers’ Needs

IoT technology can provide vital information for retailers to stay one step ahead of customers’ desires and needs. For example, IoT sensors could alert sales managers when stock is running low on a particular item. Using local demographics and other information, data analytics can predict the number of products needed at a specific retail outlet or distribution center. Managers can also see the times of day or days of the week when the highest volume of sales take place, enabling them to anticipate future inventory demands. While retailers could gather this type of information without sensor technology, IoT innovations allow a more holistic, efficient and streamlined approach to tracking retail inventory.

When it comes to implementing IoT sensors for inventory tracking, it makes sense for enterprises to partner with a network provider that specializes in wireless systems and has a track record for security and dependability. Symphony Link’s enterprise IoT system helps companies reduce operating costs by tracking consumption. The results? Cost savings, flexible tracking and access to a secure, dependable network.

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Written by Brian Ray

Brian is the Founder and CTO of Link Labs. As the chief technical innovator and leader of the company, Brian has led the creation and deployment of a new type of ultra long-range, low-power wireless networking which is transforming the Internet of Things and M2M space.

Before starting Link Labs, Brian led a team at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab that solved communications and geolocation problems for the national intelligence community. He was also the VP of Engineering at the network security company, Lookingglass, and served for eight years as a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy. He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and received his Master’s Degree from Oxford University.

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