Change is a dead cert

GD 1IoT has the potential to change not just what distributors sell, but the way those products are sold and shipped; it will bring both challenges and opportunities, explains GD Rectifiers’ managing director, Paul Bentley.

The internet of things will have a massive impact on the manufacturing industry. Benefits will include a more efficient inventory management system, products will be easier to package and track, and the likelihood of human errors will diminish. Businesses will also have access to more data, with metrics on consumer buying behaviours including: order patterns, buying power and lead time expectations.

Working remotely will become more viable and employees could potentially control an entire production line with just a tablet and an internet connection. Most businesses will see an increase in productivity because operations will be carried out more quickly and efficiently.

Monitor IoT development
Over the next four years, as IoT becomes mainstream, most industries are likely to change, with manufacturing being one of the first to adopt. Paul Bentley’s advice for any electronic component distributor is therefore to watch how IoT develops, monitor how OEMs adapt and identify alterations that will improve business efficiency. Implement changes gradually and always be prepared to revert to old practices if it doesn’t work.

Paul commented: “It’s important to remember that each business model is different and 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.”

Identify efficiencies
In fact, IoT is already used across manufacturing, distribution and logistics to carry out tasks such as sending an alert when factory equipment needs maintenance, tracking the speed and safety of machines and monitoring the environmental condition of products during shipment.

Every day more and more sensors are being introduced in factories to carry out activities such as motor checks on vibration and temperature. But as Paul explained: “IoT is evolving. It’s more than sensors; it also includes substantial software components. The industry is about to boom and with IoT, the possibilities are endless.”

Embrace changes
It seems the demand for connected electronics will continue to grow at rapid speed and both manufacturers and distributors need to keep up with increased demand. Businesses will need to focus on technology integration and will need to be able to adapt to emerging IoT technologies.

It’s important for buyers to know whether their suppliers and OEMs have adopted IoT because the initial cost of launching the technology, along with potential inflated component prices, could jeopardise supplier relationships.

Nonetheless, many advanced IoT applications are expected to emerge over the next few years, with an emphasis on augmented reality, wearable technology and Industry 4.0. The future will also see a focus on sophisticated backend systems and multiple security levels to protect the unlimited data that IoT will provide.

Despite being in its infancy, this technology is beginning to influence what distributors sell. OEMs and distributors will soon be able to react more quickly to product developments, with additional stock quantities reducing lead times. Ultimately, distributors need to be ready for how the technology will impact their business in order to make the most of new opportunities.