Are You Data-Driven? - Modern Distribution Management

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Are You Data-Driven?

Internet of things provides opportunities for distributors that embrace it.

To thrive in the age of the internet of things – the term used for the network of connected devices communicating with one another that is developing at a rapid rate – companies must constantly ask themselves if they are data-driven and ensure their data is not siloed, says Chad Jones, CEO, Plesso Ventures.

Jones, who spoke about IoT at last week's National Association of Electrical Distributors national conference in Boston, MA, said that according to an AutomationDirect survey, 69.9 percent of industrial customers consider data collection and analysis "very important," yet not enough data is connected and predictive, Jones said. This must change with the emergence of IoT – what Jones calls the "rise of the machines" – within manufacturing and distribution.

While IoT applications are still being developed even as it grows in popularity as blog fodder and as a hot topic in conference keynotes, it is an "irrelevant" term that gets thrown around too easily for tasks like measuring daily steps, Jones warned NAED attendees.

What's important is how IoT sensors and data collection connect to the broader world, what Jones calls the "internet of everything," and how companies can use data to disrupt the disruption around them.

He listed four ways that distributors can tap into the power of the internet of everything and start understanding its growing role in the supply chain.

  1. Embrace value add: Acquire and market a combination of products, services, IT skillsets and partners that enable solutions.
  2. Become data-driven: Expand sales ability to communication solution value with the customer, including the CTO and CFO.
  3. Get close to the customer: Identify products that are built to interact with others and leverage them to tie into successful solutions.
  4. Expand partner strategy: Identify solution providers, cloud providers, value-added resellers and partners that provide entire solutions.

Start learning as much as you can about IoT, Jones said, because its coming role in distribution and manufacturing is "nothing short of a seismic shift."

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