Mischief Managed: IoT helps Grinch solve Supply Chain Issues

January 2023

The Grinch finds redemption. Supply chain issues needed to be resolved and IoT will help Grinch do just that. It's time all the bells jingle.

If you’ve seen the movie or read the previous article you do know that ultimately Grinch has a redemption arc where he starts celebrating Christmas with the people of WhoVille (read : us). Looks like these vacations got him thinking and the same happened again. Over these vacations he reached out to me and admitted that he wanted to switch things up so that all of you can celebrate this festival in the way you want to. So what we are going to talk about now are all the solutions IoT can offer for Grinch to complete his redemption arc and reverse the supply chain issues.

Lets first talk about the most basic faults in the supply chain sector; little to no visibility / real time tracking throughout the whole network It is like blind leading the blind. Why not we keep an eye on every step of the way.

A supply chain must have accountability and transparency, and real-time tracking enables both. With IoT devices such as GPS monitors and sensors, everything about a package can be tracked, be it the location and temperature. This will not only solve the problem of items and necessary commodities being frequently lost or misplaced but for high-value commodities or perishable , real-time tracking is imperative. IoT devices, for instance, can flag shipments that have departed from an acceptable temperature range, shielding clients from getting perishable items. While I was only focusing on temperature sensitive items, the Grinch also proposed the idea of shock/motion sensors for highly sensitive machinery or equipment. For instance take the idea machinery in the healthcare sector like MRI machines. They can instantly be sent back to the manufacturer in case if any mishandling during transportation. Thus supply chain issues in this department can be easily catered.

Next we talked about manufacturing and production issues which are stemming from multiple factors like lockdowns and global conflicts. While there is no complete solution IoT can provide in the manufacturing department , one way IoT can help in that sector is by offering predictive analysis and then optimising delivery methods. Lets consider that a particular item is short in production but high in demand. We can identify the demand patterns for those various products at specific times of the year and adapt to consumer behaviour using metrics like order type, density, frequency, and the number of returns. Using algorithms, predictive analytics examines past trends to forecast particular outcomes and need of items. Grinch is all up for getting things at the right places at the right time these days.

Again with the help of tracking, you will be able to track the complete supply chain, keep an eye on the production units, routes, etc. This strategy can assist in finding routes with bottlenecks in shipping routes that cause delays, monitor the performance of your warehouses using metrics like shelf time of goods and demand within close range and gain a deeper understanding of your inventory. In this manner the critical demand and supply problem can be solved. IoT is used in warehouses to track product arrival and modify delivery statuses. Barcodes and package labels are scanned by cameras, and the system instantly receives all the essential data.

When it came down to the idea of solving the shipping and docking problem in supply chain issues, Grinch suggested the idea of barcode sensing on conveyer belts, robot workers and digitalised automated locks for containers so that the process becomes smoother.

We’ve finally come down to solving the last problem! Last mile. At this point the Grinch was willing to deliver everything himself but we again settled down on the idea of condition monitoring, real time tracking, route optimisation through traffic monitoring and automated drone deliveries.

Thus we can now safely say that the supply chain sector for sure has a saviour ;

It comes with ribbons! It comes with tags!

It comes with packages, boxes and bags!