The Internet of Things (IoT) has seen its share of hype, but along with other advanced technologies, it is entering a phase of practical productivity benefits that can be tapped by supply chains today, Cisco’s Jack Allen said at Tuesday’s keynote address.
Cisco Systems makes networking systems and equipment and, in managing its own supply chain, is leveraging technologies including IoT, sensors and vision picking in the warehouse to be more efficient and responsive, said Allen, who is senior director of global logistics and supply chain operations for Cisco. Allen told attendees their companies are better off being early adopters or at least “early maturity” adopters of new technologies like the IoT so their supply chains function as “intelligent networks.”
There will be a first mover advantage with supply chains that have their nodes interconnected, and make better of technologies like sensors and the IoT, said Allen. Within Cisco’s warehouse operations, it is using location and sensor technology to create what Allen called “presence” that can do things like automatically call up insights about the productivity of a line on a managers’ mobile device the second they come near it. Cisco also is beginning to use vision-picking glasses, Allen said, that brought a 25% productivity benefit in pilot tests.
When interconnectivity is implemented across a supply chain, it’s possible to do things like save big on logistics costs, or have an agile response in the face of a natural disaster, Allen said. Connecting plants and warehouses also reduces problem resolution by e-mail, because exception conditions are addressed before they escalate into problems. “We can make those emergency e-mails go away because my lines are connected, and my warehouses are connected,” Allen said.
In closing, Allen said don’t think about logistics as being only about moving goods and filling orders, but using information to improve performance and ultimately, profit. “Think about it as an information industry where you know how to monetize the information,” he said.
Modex 2016 is scheduled to be held April 4-7, 2016 in Atlanta’s Georgia World Conference Center. The tradeshow will showcase the latest manufacturing, distribution and supply chain solutions in the material handling and logistics industry. Modern’s complete Modex coverage. #