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How Will Internet of Things (IoT) Impact Supply Chain Management?

by Bridget McCrea
Contributing Writer,

As analysts, journalists, and business leaders continue to bat around the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT), one question that remains unanswered is exactly how will IoT impact the way supply chains are managed? Focused tightly on improving supply chain visibility, for example, companies leveraging smart sensors, cameras, software, databases/business intelligence, the Internet, and other tools in a cohesive manner could be the ones to gain the greatest edge in the quest for better supply chain management.

IoT is already evident in several places across the supply chain, writes ARC Advisory Group's Steve Banker. He points out its potential in areas like:

  • People - Badges that let workers into secure locations; sensors will monitor the health of workers, particularly when they work remotely or in environments that can become hazardous.
  • Factories and warehouses - sensors that warn about everything from chemical spills, to prowlers, to broken water mains.
  • The Logistics Infrastructure - Smart phone apps are making navigation more efficient by detecting traffic congestion. "Smart systems" will warn about infrastructure problems that could impact local supply chain activities.
  • Products - Sensors on pallets, cases, and even individual products will become pervasive allowing for much more efficient demand-supply matching.

Retailers are particularly interested in the intersection of IoT and the supply chain, according to Brandon George, a Microsoft Dynamics AX MVP and director of business intelligence for Sunrise Technologies. The growing mass of operational data puts an emphasis on how business intelligence (BI) can be pulled from its use cases in ERP and applied to streamline the supply chain.

"I'm seeing more widespread interest ...

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About Bridget McCrea

Bridget McCrea covers business and technology topics for various publications. She can be reached at

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