Simply everyone today is talking about IOT, Industry 4.0 and what this branch of technology will mean for businesses; of tomorrow, or even today. IOT is not new, it has been around in one form or another for nearly 20 years. However, what we are seeing today is a huge ramp up in the deployment of IOT and the rapid expansion in its capabilities.
For those needing a quick refresher on what IOT actually is. Simply put IOT or IOT devices are smart gadgets such as fridges, TVs, vehicles, or other equipment or appliances that connect to a wifi network and collect, transmit or download data, that can be controlled as well as reported. These devices can often be managed remotely via connected software platforms but in their simplest form provide insights to central data sources by recording and sending historical usage data back to base with information such as energy, predictive breakdown patterns and linkage to critical spares, equipment heat and vibration etc.
Exceptionally useful you may say, but how does this assist us as procurement leaders when making purchasing decisions? So, there are a few ways in which this is being done right now:
If we look at consumer electronics to begin with, IOT enabled devices collect a lot of data on usage and behavior. Imagine a smart-fridge reporting temperature, power consumption, faults etc. A large organization tracking all of this data against serial numbers is able to clearly see over time the performance of certain hardware components, and product ranges over others.
Secondly, we can identify significant IOT benefits when we look at the tracking and movement of goods in our supply chain. IOT enabled sensors are already being used worldwide to detect shipment stoppages, track goods, and even trigger maintenance teams automatically for products that have developed faults in the field. The automotive industry has made great strides forward with this in recent years.
The final use case I would draw your attention to here is similar to our first, however it focuses on data analysis of industrial machines. By tracking the output and performance of industrial machines we receive great insights about how our production facilities are operating in the field. We can identify material demands, bottlenecks in our supply chain, compare the performance of machine types, our production facilities and a whole lot more.
At Robobai we are passionate about retaining our cutting edge in the procurement analytics field and have introduced support for many IOT data feeds into our platform. Additionally, we have gone out and acquired our own IOT hardware specialists to ensure that our R&D continues to lead the way.