Digital information is incredibly versatile and offers many advantages. Just as in every other business, it has changed supply chains drastically. Quick and transferable data exchange has served as a foundation for managing and monitoring increasingly large and complex supply chain operations. But digital information alone has its limits. And this is where the difference between digitisation and digitalisation begins.
Digitising technologies vs digitalising technologies
Existing supply chain tracking technologies, such as inventory and asset tracking RFID and barcodes, digitise information. They turn analogue information into a digital format. This data then can be transferred, duplicated, and manipulated to generate useful analytics and oversight. However, neither RFID nor barcodes do this by themselves. People use the data. The manual factor of digitisation is limiting for supply chains. It takes time and resources and the results are not always reliable - especially if companies lack the staff to collect or analyse the data properly.
The solution is digitalisation - a much larger and more transformative step, handing over both data collection and data analysis to digital processes.
Digitalising the supply chain with IoT: interconnected and automated
The Internet of Things (IoT) embraces digitalisation. An IoT solution functions through several different, but interconnected devices and software over a single network. In the supply chain, these devices could include GPS trackers, temperature and humidity sensors, shock sensors and analytical software. No manual steps are required in order for the system to run.
In other words, IoT turns the processes of supply chain operations into digital ones. Automation of critical functions in the collecting and use of digital data enables a more responsive supply chain and access to better insights. Real-time data and automated analytics expand visibility and traceability for supply chain managers. As a result, they can react faster, make better decisions, and plan for the future with the support of real-time information.
Download our white paper to learn more about digitalising your supply chain. Other topics covered are the top nine challenges faced by supply chain managers, the pros and cons of existing tracking technologies and the benefits of IoT-based supply chain tracking.