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The internet of things (IoT) enables ‘things’ to be connected. It is the great connector and is considered the next great evolution of the internet itself. Whilst it is an evolution of what’s possible, the technology is not going to replace existing systems and processes, it will simply enhance them.

A typical technology value chain of an IoT solution will include sensors or embedded circuitry, connectivity, cloud services, software and analytics. Because the technology stack for IoT is pretty extensive, it’s easy to understand why so many look at IoT systems in isolation.

If you focus on the technology first, you can get bogged down in the detail and go on a never ending journey of learning and exploration. But if you focus on each individual benefit, purposely being trivial about the technology, you will start to see very clearly the importance of IoT systems working harmoniously with existing infrastructure.

Delivery management

Entopy is focused on enabling visibility of goods and asset within supply chain environments, specifically, looking at the journey of goods between sites. So, we will look at the most obvious use of IoT technology in this environment – delivery management.

Research shows that a staggering 30% of all shipments encounter issues in transit. Issues range from damage to theft, delays to misdirection. Enabling greater visibility of these shipments will allow operators to capture discrepancies and take action.

So, the question here is ‘how to use IoT to enhance the delivery management process and capture discrepancies?’

Any company operating an extensive supply chain operation, carrying large volumes of inventories will have management systems and processes in place. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) or Warehouse Management Software (WMS) are the usual suspects which operate in conjunction with processes such as goods receiving and order fulfilment.

IoT will not replace these processes or systems. Instead, it will enhance them, reduce the workload and help to drive accuracy and efficiency.

A warehouse staff member picks a roll cage to fulfil a satellite store. Inventory is located and picked within the warehouse and put onto a supply chain handling unit such as a roll cage. The system to pick and load the roll cage is pretty advanced and the accuracy of the pick is good. A sensor is attached to the roll cage to track and monitor the cage from the warehouse to the store, helping to identify any issues such as shock or temperature spikes and tracking location to identify that it has been delivered to the correct place and if not, alerting operators of this event.

In this scenario, the IoT system needs to work in conjunction with the warehouse picking system, store stock file etc. With the correct integration tools, the IoT system can take in the data created and managed within the WMS system, assign the sensor to that roll cage and delivery, monitor the roll cage through transit, trigger an alert when the shipment has successfully arrived and output that data to the ERP systems, updating the store stock file.

In this example, the IoT system has not replaced existing systems, it’s simply enhanced them. Certain processes may be automated such as goods receiving allowing the staff member that would usually conduct that task to focus on other areas of the business such as customer service.

Entopy’s API suite

Entopy has developed an extensive API suite with integration in mind. Tools within the software stack enable the tracking and condition monitoring of goods to be contextualised, creating meaningful outputs to be extracted from the API into existing systems.

Looking downstream, data from other systems can be fed into the Entopy tool allowing sensors data to run over the top of data already within the business.

Other tools such as the notification centre feed directly from the Entopy platform ensuring that key operators are alerted in real time if events happen. These alerts are delivered through a range of mediums such as email and push notification.

Entopy’s fundamental belief is that whilst IoT is a game changer, it needs to interact with us and what’s already there. It’s not a replacement, it’s an enabler for the next generation of the supply chain.

Interested?

Get in touch today – info@entopy.com


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