Why IoT is Not the Answer

Why IoT is Not the Answer

Global supply chain disruption is not caused by a lack of data—more than 10 billion Internet of Things (IoT) devices deployed worldwide add more data every second to already overflowing data stores, yet disruption persists. More IoT is not the answer. The real challenge is creating effective connections between numerous stakeholders performing a range of functions, across multiple enterprise platforms and in different jurisdictions.

IoT technologies have long been seen as a means to achieve end-to-end visibility, offering individual stakeholders a way to gather data outside their domain. However, mobile devices pose challenges: they are expensive, costly to maintain, and have to be retrieved after use.

The answer seems to lie in a new generation of technology that makes it possible to harness data across the supply chain for true cross-stakeholder visibility. This new “data mesh” technology unlocks valuable benefits using intelligent data orchestration.

Using the data mesh distributed architecture approach, companies can capture data from multiple supply chain systems and combine it to create a “digital twin” of a consignment—providing a single data product from which all stakeholders can get the visibility they need.

Intelligent data orchestration acts as the “conductor” to synchronize all the various data inputs and apply analytics as goods move between stakeholders. Each separate system communicates directly and only to the conductor platform—maintaining data integrity and removing the need for numerous discrete connections. The conductor also ensures only relevant data is captured from connected domains, which maintains privacy across the various organizations.

Getting the Full Picture

Leveraging data across the supply chain enables a much fuller picture to be achieved at a granular level. Data from various systems—order management, warehouse management, transport management, and telematics systems—combines to deliver rich data products that include consignment data, inventory, value, documentation, allocated transport and even the scheduled route.

Data such as the allocated transport vehicle’s GPS location is dynamically added, providing real-time location updates for the consignment; it also can be used to derive key events. These events can be distributed to key stakeholders across the network. When recorded, they build a lifecycle record for each consignment, helping analysts to identify pinch points within the network.

So how can you take your first steps to unlock hidden value with intelligent data orchestration?

1. Think about what a digital twin of a consignment means to you. What data do you need to perform your job?

2. How much of what you need do you have access to? Where can you find that data? Which systems do you have to go to to capture that information?

3. What is missing and where can you find that data? Do you have to contact other stakeholders to gather information? What systems hold that information?

4. Now put yourself in the shoes of other stakeholders across your network and ask the same three questions.

This process will help you to understand what a consignment’s digital twin means, and see the value of being able to access all the data you need in a single place, where all stakeholders can interact with it for true cross-stakeholder visibility.

With supply chains increasing in complexity and under strain post-pandemic, intelligent data orchestration offers a new route to unlock supply chain value and deliver competitive advantage.