In 2019, approximately 56-percent of the supply chain leaders were planning to invest in IoT technology and devices.
Well, the usage of IoT devices has risen significantly in the supply chain today. Almost every aspect involves the use of IoT. But why?
And, is it beneficial? Are there any risks and security issues that supply chain leaders must know? Is there any sought-after solution? Continue reading more to unravel!
Supply Chain & IoT
Today, IoT technology is an integral component of every industry, whether it be primary or secondary. It doesn’t even matter whether the business is small-scale or large-scale. If the company involves a supply chain, then you will certainly find IoT as the core component.
Well, IoT devices give companies much better and greater control over their supply chain. Using these devices, companies can track their assets and inventories more efficiently. They can excel in collecting real-time data, identifying issues, distribution of goods, and whatnot.
Hence, it enables them to make calculated and beneficial decisions. Plus, they can do supply and demand planning more easily and quickly.
Some examples of supply chain & IoT include:
- Food-related companies can use IoT to monitor temperature and other factors in their storage departments.
- Fleet managers can use it to track the route of products and ensure safety.
- Office furniture manufacturers can use IoT to identify faulty desks and remove them.
Undeniably, similar to all other fields, IoT technology has been playing a significant role in the supply chain.
Perhaps, it is not wrong to state that IoT has revolutionized the supply chain industry, offering both benefits and challenges. Let’s evaluate each one separately below!
The Positive Side
Automation in anything makes it ten times more accurate and timely. That’s how technology and artificial intelligence works.
So, when talking about IoT pros, we all know we will be getting better and more efficient results than ever. But, let’s get into details to understand exactly how.
Tracking Location & Movement of Goods
Transportation of materials and finished products is the riskiest part of the supply chain. Mishandling or misplacement of only a few items during travel can have a significant impact on the results.
Well, manufacturers can place IoT tracking devices on the goods. It makes tracking the movement and finding out the location quite easy.
These devices can also help you track factors, such as speed and traffic flow. So, you can calculate the expected time and prepare accordingly.
Most of the time, manufacturers store the tagged goods (with IoT devices) that makes the storage more organized. Employees can manage the goods better using the tagged devices.
Ensure the safety of products
IoT helps monitor critical factors of products, especially if they’re perishable. These include things like chemicals and food items.
You can maintain track of the temperature, light intensity, humidity, and other things in the storage shed. Hence, IoT also helps maintain good product quality and prevent losses.
Identify Issues & Provide Solutions
Using IoT, you can gather a lot of technical and complex data easily. You can find what’s happening in seconds. All this enables a supply chain manager to identify the issues and resolve them before the company experiences a devastating impact.
The Risk Factors
The usage of IoT in the supply chain is quite beneficial, but it poses some great risks too.
First things first, IoT technology heavily depends on connectivity and network systems. These devices use Bluetooth, WiFi, and other connections to process as well as transmit data.
In case of poor connection, these devices can malfunction and even cause errors. It can also lead to inaccurate data generation, which can be disastrous for any company.
Besides, the wireless connection and poor handling can give rise to one prominent issue: hacking. The increased number of tagged products and devices makes ensuring security difficult.
And, insufficient protection of data can offer backdoors to hackers and cybercriminals. Consequently, these people can steal data, access confidential information, and even introduce malware in your system.
Hacks & Safety Measures
These risk factors stated above are lesser than the uncountable pros IoT offers in the supply chain. However, these are certainly not worth ignoring.
Your complete supply chain can be at a huge risk if you let these risks go neglected. Imagine cybercriminals and hackers accessing your company’s supply chain, taking away all the strategies.
Well, for this reason, a company should focus on deriving solutions. Different companies can tackle these risks differently. However, we will recommend you the following solutions:
Keep the system updated
Perhaps, the fundamental best method is to keep the complete IoT system updated. You should ensure that all security remains up to date and revised. Also, change the patterns and passwords to ensure no hacking attempt gets successful.
Never integrate all networks under one big system
It might sound more logical and organized to accumulate all the IoT networks under one big infrastructure. But, don’t do it.
This particular practice weakens the system and opens up more opportunities for cybercriminals. Instead, it is better to create segmented networks that make hacking difficult.
Also, make sure that your files and folders are secured on your system and no one else has the access to read and write these folders. You can use the NFTS permission tool to manage access to the files and folders that are stored in your network system. This gives you full control to modify the files and subfolders.
Hire well-trained staff only for IoT device handling
Another effective way is to hire skilled and highly-trained individuals for handling IoT devices. These people will know how to identify security issues and respond accordingly.
Arslan Hassan is an electrical engineer with a passion for writing, designing, and anything tech-related. His educational background in the technical field has given him special insights into many topics.