OC Reilly Blog: Winning Amid the ‘Internet of Things’

By Mike Polaski, Executive Director of Supply Chain, OC Reilly Inc.


It may sound redundant to call a forklift “dumb,” until you understand that more and more forklifts today can be considered “intelligent” – thanks to rapid technological advancements like sensors and semi- to full-automation capabilities.

These types of leaps forward represent just a fraction of what is becoming known as the “Internet of Things.”  In addition to humans accessing the universe of information available online these days, so are machines and tools, like forklifts and such.

“Traditionally, the forklift was the backbone for manual material movement in a factory or distribution center, a ‘dumb’ piece of machinery that was entirely dependent upon the operator,” according to an article in the September/October 2014 edition of Supply Chain Management Review. 

“Today’s ‘smart’ forklift includes diagnostics that allow the equipment to signal when it needs to be serviced, speed controls, anti-slip technology that monitors wheel spin and improve traction on slick floors, collision detection, fork speed optimization, and more.  Intelligent forklifts promote new process flows in the warehouse,” the story reads.

So, as the good old “dumb” forklift matriculates to a higher intelligence, it creates ramifications in a ripple effect affecting supply chain systems and decisions for those looking to utilize them effectively.

These types of advances need to be understood, analyzed, and evaluated in the larger scheme of supply chain capabilities.  It’s what a dynamic, trend-watching consulting firm like OC Reilly prides itself upon.  And it’s something that our clients have come to expect.

We may be living in the age of the “Internet of Things,” but it’s people who still make the most significant difference.


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