Five Ways IoT is Changing Supply ChainFive Ways IoT is Changing Supply Chain

By Rob Stevens

In a world where you can monitor everything from your refrigerator to your pets in real time on your phone, it’s no surprise that supply chain is experiencing its own IoT revolution. IoT, or the Internet of Things, refers to a new technology framework in which products are constantly connected and sending real-time data to the cloud. As supply chains grow ever more complex, companies are adopting new digital solutions built on an IoT foundation, and these solutions are enabling a new level of end-to-end visibility into in-transit goods. Below are some of the key ways in which IoT is changing the face of supply chain today.

Digital Tracking

With digital tracking, predictability is the new key word for distributors.

By Robert Farrell

In today’s electronic world it’s only a matter of time until manual data recording tasks are eliminated completely – and the trucking industry is the next target on the digital radar. Make no mistake this mandate will have a widespread impact on businesses outside of the transportation industry. Warehouses, distributors, manufacturers and other links in the extended supply chain must plan for it now; or pay the price later.

You may have heard that there’s a radical change that will soon be impacting the shipping industry. A new government mandate will initiate a nation-wide digital tracking procedure that will more accurately monitor trucking activity. In the cab, electronic logging devices will replace manual log books. This move removes any gray area by replacing subjective and often inaccurate driving logs with real-time data. With digital tracking’s eye in the sky, the status of any truck will be known instantly.

Breaking Ground

Innovations in pharmaceutical manufacturing advances delivery of groundbreaking therapies.

By Mauricio Futran

The concept of continuous manufacturing (CM) is not a new one; after all, everything from cars to snack foods have utilized the process, automating their production lines from start to finish on a single line while tracking status throughout, for many years. However, while other industries have enhanced their processes to apply newer technological capabilities associated with continuous manufacturing, the pharmaceutical industry’s traditional “batch” manufacturing – where pills or products are created in a step-by-step process that can take weeks and span multiple production facilities – remains the norm. This has shifted rapidly in recent years, with both the agencies and the pharmaceutical companies pursuing a number of advanced technologies to enhance efficiency, reliability, agility and reduce cost.

As an industry professional, it is my belief that as the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry and market evolve, so should our manufacturing sites and processes in order to accelerate our ability as manufacturers to meet customer needs. The need for this shift in approach was further underscored in the past two years through recommendations from health care authorities.

Averting Disruptions

Preventing supply chain disruptions during construction.

By Matthew T. Strong

Disruptions are an inevitable part of construction because the complex process of building or remodeling a facility does not occur in a vacuum, but rather in the context of the larger world, where many forces are at play. At active manufacturing and processing facilities, disruptions can have ramifications up and down the supply chain, costing money and causing delays. These problems can be mitigated by working closely with the general contractor to carefully plan a construction or retrofit project.

Construction work is very different from the production, maintenance and administrative work that represents the bulk of the activity at most facilities. Construction consists of a series of change events requiring continuously altered conditions in order to be efficient. On the other hand, most business operations are more regular and depend on reliable environmental conditions in order to maintain efficiency. Clearly, the intersection of these opposing activities has potential for problems. Preparation is the key to completing work and protecting business operations.

Machine Learning

Machine Learning Prevents Supply Chain Risk

By James Ovenden

Artificial Intelligence is set to have a profound impact on society, perhaps more potent than any technology humanity has ever witnessed. It provokes fear and joy in equal measure, but while some may worry about its implications for society and the future of employment, its benefits for business are undeniable. And these are already starting to be realized. In a recent survey by Accenture, 70 percent of executives said they are significantly increasing investments in AI compared with two years ago.

Improvements in AI have been driven by machine learning. Machine learning is a form of artificial intelligence able to learn without a human programming it to specifically find something. Machine learning algorithms do this by searching large data sets for meaningful patterns, from which future events can be predicted or classified. It finds the sort of patterns that are often imperceptible to traditional statistical techniques because of their apparently random nature.

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