Information Technology

IoT Devices In Retail (Supply Chain, Logistics, Transportation And Equipment Management)

<p><strong>Inventory is the lifeline of retail.</strong> The ever-evolving customer expectations and changes in business models are putting a serious strain on the ability of enterprises to operate streamlined inventory supply chains. This is where a revolutionary technology like IoT is helping every major industry &ndash;finance, healthcare, transportation, energy and retail improve the operational efficiency of distribution and add transparency to decision-making. The technology is helping build a big-picture view and create a complex yet functional framework for operational efficiency in this field across various aspects of supply chain, logistics, storage, shipping, communication and others.</p><p>According to multiple reports, the remote asset management market is expected to be worth USD 27 Billion by 2021, and with more than 70% of retailers planning to make significant investments in IoT, it reflects how IoT will become a significant and strategic tool for retailers, helping them pre-empt as well as drive demand.</p><p>&nbsp;<strong><em>Supply Chain &amp; Logistics:</em>&nbsp;</strong><em>IoT (Internet of Things)</em> is enabling retailers to drive innovation in their supply chains to curtail costs and improve customers service. Leading tech companies and retailers are collaborating on multiple fronts. Packing products into bags with automated sensors to monitor weight, humidity, temperature and shock with a single objective of preventing damage to the product thereby significantly reducing the possibility of returns and associated costs. Further, diagnosing problems remotely can be turned into a win-win situation for both, the customers and retailers. This also ensures that the customer derives a greater value from their purchase and also helps retailers save costs and reduce the burden on their supply chains.</p><p><strong><em>Fleet Management:</em></strong> GPS tracking is being actively used to monitor fleet transportation. Besides providing greater visibility of the inventory-in-transit, GPS tracking is also assisting in preventing cargo thefts. Through IoT sensors, fleet companies get access to vast amount of data which is used to analyze and help take actionable insights on driver pattern and behaviour, vehicle speeding and idle-time, etc. By adopting such innovative methods, companies can achieve their business imperative of faster delivery. IoT is enabling on-demand repair of fleet through remote monitoring and diagnostic of the fleet, as well as signalling their location for better route management saving both time and money for retailers. This information is further used to update customers about the arrival of their product from shipment to doorstep delivery.</p><p><strong><em>Equipment Maintenance:</em></strong>&nbsp;Predict IIoT sensors, AI /ML models help predict early signs of equipment /machine failures. Knowing when a piece of equipment might break down, or when it actually&nbsp;<em>does</em> break down, is invaluable that helps in shipping, stocking and storage etc. Predictive maintenance generally requires the analysis of a very large amount of data coming from different sources with a high frequency (even in real-time). These IoT devices/ sensors provide access to the data to analyze and visualize the information using <strong>advanced analytical techniques and predictive algorithms, such as Business Intelligence (BI) tools or even Big Data.</strong>&nbsp;This early detection reduces losses due to unexpected downtime and sudden unplanned</p><p><strong><em>Conclusion: Possibilities Exist, But Not Without Challenges</em></strong></p><p>While IoT has definitely opened the door to a streamline and bring about efficiency in the supply chain, retailers will need to carefully chart out a well-defined implementation journey. IoT itself is evolving as a technology and is in early stages of adoption. Retailers will need to build a holistic transformation plan with clear goals and milestones. The role of other technologies including analytics, hardware upgrades of devices across the chain will need to be laid out. Businesses will have to invest heavily on team readiness, cross-functional and process alignment along with leadership support.</p><p><strong>The globally connected retail market is estimated to reach USD 82.31 Billion by 2025 and&nbsp;IoT will play a key role in the fast-changing competitive technology landscape.</strong></p>
KR Expert - Kunal Mehta

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