Today, more and more homes are filled with an array of sensors and microphones that power monitoring solutions. These systems rely on machine-to-machine communication to create an Internet of Things (IoT) that can help consumers save on energy costs and keep an eye on their home when they’re away. As significant as this shift is, recent findings from Genpact Research Institute indicate that the impact of IoT solutions in industrial and commercial settings is likely to represent an even bigger opportunity. Already, 81% of the 173 business leaders surveyed agreed that, “successful adoption of Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) technology and related analytics capabilities are critical to future success.”

What does this mean for the average distribution operations team? An IIoT strategy in the warehouse should offer increased logistics insights and traceability that allows end-to-end tracking of items. As more companies ship items directly to consumers, knowing where an order is at all times provides a higher level of customer service and also increases the likelihood of on-time and accurate delivery.

One of the first steps to enhance machine-to-machine communication is by deploying voice automation with multi-modal data collection. Voice collects data on a broad spectrum of functions to allow distribution operations to understand and react to the moment-to-moment dynamics of the supply chain. Data from voice (as well as data from complementary scanning and pick-to-light systems) can then be used and analyzed by business users without the need for additional IT resources, which can help the 34% of companies who cited insufficient IT skills as a hurdle for adopting an IIoT strategy in Genpact’s survey.

If implementing technology to improve efficiency and gather moment-to-moment data is the first step in a distributions IIoT strategy, then the next step is to consider a predictive analytics solution purpose-built for the supply chain. Intellestra, Voxware’s flagship analytics product, not only combines distribution operations data with transportation, receiving, and even weather data, but it also provides easy-to-use tools for distributions operations to run fast experiments without having to wait for IT support. This functionality can help the 34% of respondents to Genpact’s survey who cited an inability to do fast experiments as an impediment to success.

Distribution operations teams who want to continue to deliver the superior customer experience, essential to achieving greater brand loyalty and higher customer lifetime value, should develop an IIoT strategy that offers unprecedented understanding of how best to improve profitability by reducing costs and exceeding customer expectations. The first steps in that process are implementing voice and predictive analytics.