The Internet of Things (IoT) has risen to prominence in the last few years with businesses focussing on gaining value from the data that is being generated, and in order to take advantage of the large amounts of data, it is essential for ERP’s to be flexible and deliver real time information.
First things first, what is the IoT?
The IoT is a name for a network consisting of physical devices that connect to the internet through embedded sensors and can communicate with each other. They can provide automation in many industries where perhaps it was not possible before.
How can the IoT help ERP systems?
The main goal of an ERP is to provide correct and useful data to business heads. This can often be a difficult task but IoT has the potential to improve the quality of the data and improve accuracy across the business.
Here are three way that IoT and ERP can help a business
1. Inventory. When the inventory in a warehouse gets below a predefined amount, it will re-order using sensors and other IoT connected devices will be more accurate than a human. IoT can inform manufacturers by sending a notification if a machine needs repairing or isn’t working properly.
2. Reducing human error. The integration of IoT and ERP systems will make companies work in a more efficient way. It will reduce the amount of human errors as it will be able to reduce the number of tasks carries out by people.
3. Improved supply chain. It will be possible to have real time data by tracking products and materials as they go along the supply chain. The IoT and ERP systems can work together so the production life cycle can flow more efficiently.
What are the challenges?
With the IoT being still quite new, there are a few challenges that need to be resolved. Possibly the most important is data security. With more and more devices being able to connect to the internet there is a higher chance of hacks to the system and this then increases the threat to businesses.
The other major issue is in relation to the large amount of data that is processed and analysed. How is this stored? It requires companies to be able to store large volumes of data, and with this, there are obviously increased costs and infrastructure complications.
So, to sum things up, the Internet of Things looks like it’s here to stay and it is up the ERP systems to adapt to take advantage of the business gains that are currently available and will be available in the very near future. There will be challenges along the way, mainly with data security, but watch this space.