IoT Opportunities, Challenges And The Future For Distributors
IoT will have a massive impact on the manufacturing industry, businesses will benefit from a more efficient inventory management system, products will be easier to package, track and the likelihood of human errors will diminish. Businesses will have access to more data and metrics on consumer buying behaviours, including: order patterns, buying power and lead time expectations.
Working remotely will become more accessible, employees will be able to control and manage an entire production line and store with just a tablet and an internet connection, however some businesses will still want to observe these operations in real-time. With the introduction of IoT, most businesses will see an increase in productivity because operations will be carried out more quickly and efficiently without them needing to be at the factory.
Most industries are likely to change over the next four years when IoT becomes mainstream, the manufacturing industry will be one of the first to adopt the changes. My advice to all electronic component distributors would be to see how IoT develops before committing to change, monitor how OEMs adapt and identify the alterations that will improve the efficiency of your business and implement them slowly, always be prepared to revert back to old practices if it doesn’t work.
“It’s important to remember that each business model is different, what works for one distributor won’t work for another. You don’t have to embrace IoT in everything, just select the key elements that will help grow your business."
“Connected technology is changing how we interact with our electronics, we are demanding more and expect to control our favourite devices on the go, remotely and in real-time."
IoT is already being used across manufacturing, distribution and logistics to carry out tasks such as send an alert when factory equipment needs maintenance, track the speed and safety of machines and monitor the environmental condition of products during shipment.
Every day more and more sensors are being introduced in factories to carry out motor checks on vibration and temperature. IoT technology is enabling manufacturers and distributors to reduce time spent carrying out the admin tasks and enables design engineers to focus on new product developments which will continue to boost the consumer electronics industry.
“IoT is evolving, it’s more than sensors, it includes substantial software components. Internet connectivity is taking the world to a new level."
The demand for connected electronics will continue to grow at a rapid speed and both manufacturers and distributors will need to keep up with the increase in demand. Businesses will need to focus on technology integration and will need to be able to adapt to emerging IoT technologies.
“The industry is about to boom; with IoT, the possibilities are endless."
It’s important for buyers to know whether their suppliers and OEMs have adopted IoT as the initial costs of launching the technology along with potential inflated component prices could jeopardise supplier relationships. It is in the supplier’s best interests to check with the OEM and let their customers know as soon as possible. If a buyer was to receive an IoT bill-of-materials by a supplier without agreeing to the IoT operational costs they should dispute the BOM and explore other production options.
More advanced IoT applications will emerge over the next few years with a strong focus on augmented reality, wearable technology and Industry 4.0. The future will see a strong focus on sophisticated back-end systems and multiple security levels to protect the unlimited data that IoT will provide.
IoT will soon influence what distributors sell, OEMs and distributors will be able to react much more quickly to product developments and additional stock quantities, reducing customers lead times. IoT will also impact the new component designs driven forward which will in turn effect future technology and consumer buying trends for the foreseeable future.
Although its still in its infancy, distributors need to be ready for how the technology will start to impact their business. The future is fast becoming the present and we need to react to it.