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Portable IoT Tech Powering Changes in the Supply Chain

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    Industrial technology network concept

    You don’t have to be a global economist or a titan of industry to know that the supply chain has been much in the news in recent months. Ongoing industry disruptions lead to surging prices, significant supply shortages, and worldwide work stoppages.  

    There is, however, hope on the horizon. Innovations in energy-efficient technology and portable devices connected to the Internet of Things (IoT) may very well reduce and even eradicate supply chain disruptions. This article examines how advancements in smart portable tech are powering changes in the supply chain. 

    Enhanced Visibility and Asset Tracking 

    One of the most challenging aspects of managing the supply chain is simply the capacity to track materials they travel hundreds or thousands of miles, often traversing states and national borders before reaching their final destination. 

    The sheer scope of the endeavor of transporting enormous quantities of goods across great distances can make it formidably difficult, if not impossible, to chart the path of individual shipments.  

    But that’s not the only obstacle inherent in the global supply chain. Whether you’re shipping materials to the next town or around the world, the odds are pretty good that some specific environmental parameters, such as temperature and humidity levels, that must be maintained.  

    Smart-connected portable IoT devices are making it possible to track specific shipments and individual items within each shipment across the full supply chain. Not only this, but these smart sensors can also provide continuous monitoring of environmental conditions, which is a particularly significant concern for cold chain shipments. 

    Ensuring that items are kept at the required temperature throughout the shipping and storage process is critical to effective inventory management.  

    Perishable foods, medications, and even sensitive electronics may be rendered unusable by exposure to temperatures above or below safe parameters. Temperature-sensing IoT solutions can alert shippers and stakeholders when environmental conditions approach the danger zone, allowing them to take timely action.  

    And this means that when shipments arrive at their destination, receivers can be assured that the materials are safe and usable. The shipping and storage data these sensors provide gives suppliers, shippers, and buyers a new level of visibility and transparency. This promotes trust between stakeholders while enabling them to identify and remediate weak points in the supply chain. 

    Supporting Sustainability 

    Another significant benefit of the ascendancy of smart portable devices in supply chain management is the unprecedented data collection and analysis capacity. Smart IoT devices can monitor shipping, warehousing, and point-of-sale operations, collecting data that can support inventory management and reduce waste. 

    For instance, data that supplies critical information on materials’ average shipping times or the typical lag time between a product’s arrival at a store or warehouse and its ultimate purchase can be used to drive evidence-based decisions across various business functions.  

    Business leaders may determine, for instance, that they have been ordering a surplus of products, resulting in waste. Similarly, they may discover that materials are experiencing inordinately long shipping routes, prompting them to search for more local suppliers. The end result is a less wasteful, more efficient, and more sustainable supply chain. 

    Optimizing Inventory and Warehouse Management 

    Smart warehouse inventory system

    As has been seen, the data derived from smart portable IoT tech are instrumental in making informed business decisions that promote sustainable practices. At the same time, these data can also be used to spur productivity and profitability by optimizing inventory and warehouse management.  

    Intelligent devices connected to the Industrial IoT, for instance, can track quantities of essential materials and even autonomously reorder them when supplies dip too low or when an upcoming project demands greater-than-usual quantities.  

    By automating inventory and warehouse management processes, not only are you going to reduce the likelihood of decreased productivity and potential work stoppages, but you’re also going to be able to make better use of your workforce. You will no longer need to expend so much time and labor managing inventories and warehouses. These critical tasks can be automated with relative ease, enabling your employees to turn to other, more complex obligations that simply can’t be left to machines. 

    The Takeaway 

    Recent supply chain disruptions have wrought havoc on the global economy. It has caused massive layoffs, immense waste, plummeting profits, and empty store shelves. The good news, however, is that new technologies are emerging every day to prevent such crises in the future. The most promising of these are smart portable technologies connected to the IoT. These devices enhance visibility and transparency in the supply chain. They’re supporting environmental sustainability in materials transport and storage and optimizing inventory and warehouse management. The result is greater efficiency and productivity across all industries and business functions as well as less waste in terms of assets, labor, and costs. 

    Industrial technology supply chain concept

    How Ambiq Contributes 

    Industrial IoT and factory automation form the foundation of intelligent factories, and smart connected devices must be reliable regarding battery life. Since these devices perform computing operations at the edge, they need to ensure their processors can perform these tasks on a low electrical charge. 

    Ultra-low-power wireless System on Chip (SoC) solutions from Ambiq® work together to enable critical IIoT technologies in key industrial sectors. Built on our patented Subthreshold Power Optimized Technology (SPOT®) platform, Ambiq’s products reduce the total system power consumption on the order of nanoamps for all battery-powered endpoint devices. 

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