How does your business control expenses when there are so many variables that impact your month-to-month costs? Costs such as electricity, water usage, and contractor labor can vary unpredictably, making it tough to track your business operating costs.
The answer? Get smarter.
Incorporating sensor-equipped “Internet of Things” technology into your business processes can help reduce variable expenses and streamline your operations, reducing stress over business finances. By creating “smart systems” and automating responses to conditions that could increase your expenses, you can create a more predictable, cost-controlled environment.
Such technologies can also help you analyze correlations between disparate data points, helping your business discover new insights in your data that you can use to optimize your processes in the future.
Internet of Things technology is poised to transform both the public sector and the B2B landscape in the coming decade: Cisco estimates that between 2013 and 2022, the private sector will realize $14.4 trillion in value from the insights provided by IoT-connected devices.
Here are a few examples of how B2B IoT technology can cut your business operating costs, in a variety of industries:
Water sub-metering and leak detection
“Smart meters” can remotely monitor water, electricity, gas, and other utilities, automatically monitoring for leaks and shutting off lines if problems are detected in your company’s infrastructure. By automatically detecting leaking water lines, sending alerts to location managers, and shutting off the leaking valve, this can save your business thousands of dollars each year. These meters can also provide analytical data to provide insights on how water and other utility usage trends according to time of day, weather, and other factors.
For businesses that operate fleets, there are many opportunities for miscommunication between drivers and their managers. Drivers may not correctly record their mileage, or they may take a route that isn’t as efficient as an alternative. By equipping vehicles with telematics devices that can track GPS coordinates, speed, and overall driving behavior, managers can get a real-time view of their drivers’ behavior and whether they are on schedule. Additionally, such devices can automatically track mileage and submit expense reports, eliminating the possibility of driver error and expediting the paperwork process. Such systems can aggregate driver routes and analyze them to determine optimal routes and times of day to travel.
Proactive equipment monitoring
If you lease out equipment to your customers, they may not always be aware of trouble signs that show the machines are in need of maintenance or repair. By using sensors to remotely monitor your equipment, you can instantly detect changes to your equipment conditions, and in many cases, you may be able to remotely troubleshoot the problem without sending a technician to your customer’s site. This can save a significant amount on the cost of on-site visits for regular maintenance or repairs—for instance, one B2B chemical solutions company annually dispatched trucks 1200 times per year to inspect, maintain and repair equipment, even if it did not have any problems. Now that the company is able to remotely monitor its equipment, it can proactively maintain the equipment and only send a technician out when service is needed.
If your business suffers from unpredictable fluctuations in operating costs due to variable factors such as equipment malfunctions, utility costs, and technician call-out expenses, it’s time to explore the options of sensor-driven IoT devices to more precisely track your business processes. Although such technologies have initial investment expenses, the gain in equipment uptime, reduced call-out fees, and other data-driven process improvements will help you realize significant value over the months and years to come.