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IoT and just-in-time inventory—new insights yield new efficiencies

April 27, 2020

IoT and just-in-time inventory—new insights yield new efficiencies
Just-in-time (JIT) inventory, also known as lean manufacturing, is a strategy designed to increase efficiency, reduce overhead expenses and inventory costs and decrease waste by receiving goods only as they’re needed in the production process.
 
To do JIT right demands deep, real-time visibility into the various factors that affect supply
and demand—and an organization’s ability to keep up with both. This is just the type of visibility IoT is designed to deliver.
 
IoT sensor-driven devices are transforming every aspect of supply chain and inventory management—from the assembly line to the delivery route. The ability to track inventory levels, manufacturing processes and product shipments in real time and report their status is eliminating the guesswork and creating seamless integration across the entire supply chain.

With an IoT-enabled supply chain network, companies can quickly learn the whereabouts and condition of goods—and if anything has gone wrong to disrupt the flow.
 
JIT in action
By affixing radio frequency identification (RFID) tags to pallets, companies can get real-time location information around the flow of raw materials and finished products. This information can also be analyzed to identify more efficient ways to move those pallets through a manufacturing facility—opting for automated material handlers, for example, instead of human-driven forklifts or pallet jackets.
 
The JIT model applies to equipment as well. Many manufacturers are now adding IoT sensors to robotic assistants, conveyor belts, pumps, punch presses and other equipment. By tracking metrics such as vibration levels, voltage fluctuations and oil viscosity, they know exactly when a piece of equipment needs maintenance so they can:
 
  • Shift production to other assembly lines or other facilities so they can continue to meet orders and deadlines.
  • Ensure they have the right parts, technicians and equipment to get the equipment up and running.
  • Maintain a lean inventory of expensive spares and parts to minimize downtime.
With up-to-the-minute information from IoT and RFID, companies now have the detailed and ongoing data they need to implement JIT with precision accuracy.
 
To learn more about Ingram Micro IoT and the supply chain and inventory management solutions we offer, visit the Ingram Micro IoT Marketplace or reach out to the IoT experts at us.iot@ingrammicro.com or call (800) 456-8000, ext. 76251.