From Barcodes to IoT in the MRO Integrated Supply Chain

Published April 3, 2018

If you’ve visited the Knowledge Center in the recent past, it’s likely you have seen two prominent social media posts related to two, very timely subjects. While related, the topics are at nearly diametrically opposite ends of the spectrum despite being relative to the MRO supply chain and MRO integrated supply.

The first relates to the health care industry, specifically in Great Britain, and how that industry is developing its use of barcoding technology to deliver better, more efficient health care. The article, bylined by the founder and CEO of an industry service provider, details how healthcare providers are, more and more, using barcode technology to “track and trace” medical supplies from the “point of receipt, to the patient.”

The author recognizes and understands the value of such a capability in the context of the healthcare industry, at the same time acknowledging the contribution made by industries like automotive and aerospace for developing, adopting and evolving that same barcode technology. Such technology has been around since the 1970s.

The Internet of Things (IoT)

Which brings us to the second item, an article about the Internet of Things (IoT). Gaining traction across all industries, simply put, the IoT is bringing every day internet capabilities to the down and dirty production and maintenance environments – delivering incredible results. It’s coming in the form of condition monitoring and, while still evolving, is enabling manufacturers to harness the power of the internet to manage production assets – in real time. We see this every day when talking to our clients.

Such condition monitoring enables production assets to alert maintenance to impending failure through IoT. Whether the specific asset is too hot or too cold, or is experiencing too much vibration, or something else, the information is used to better implement maintenance planning activities and, from our perspective, more efficiently and effectively order necessary MRO spare parts.

The implementation of IoT, and the connection to Maintenance and Reliability efforts, could very well mean the end for barcoding, but that’s a long way off. In the meantime, industrial manufacturers continue to find new ways to use such technology in streamlining the MRO supply chain.

Two very different yet effective technologies.

Read more:

Effects of barcodes within healthcare supply chain management (Healthcare Global)

How IoT Will Impact The Supply Chain (Forbes)