How mobile technology is changing supply chain management

Jim Berge

By Jim Berge Business Development at King Solutions

In today’s logistics driven world, the importance of supply chain management can’t be overstated. As manufacturing and distribution of goods is more spread out than ever, it’s crucial that you’re viewing the big picture.

In mass production, the smallest of errors can become huge problems down the line.

With so many moving parts, past supply chain management has often consisted of planning as best you can upfront and then letting things go into motion. Once the shipping cycle is completed, you evaluate the process, and then start over, learning and adjusting from past mistakes.

It’s that middle part, the execution that’s tended to be more on the “leap of faith” side of things. Once the freight leaves the warehouse, you hope your plan was solid.

If it wasn’t you change it the next time around.

But by then, the errors have already done their damage.

With the rise (and affordability) of mobile technology, that process is changing significantly. There doesn’t have to be that moment of ‘letting go’ or trusting that your strategy will work. Instead, you can see things as they happen in real time. You can be in the warehouses and in the trucks and see any obstacles that might stand between the two.

If the goal of supply chain management is keeping everything moving as it should and knowing what’s where, then mobile devices are the keys to the kingdom.

Time to Go Mobile
We’ve said it before, and we’ll probably end up saying it a few more times in the future: logistics is a technology driven industry. Computers revolutionized data management in warehousing and logistics. But initially, they were stationary, making their uses limited.

Portable computers (and even mobile technology) have been around for a while, but in the past, have been very expensive, leaving it open mostly for big players.

Now, however, any logistics company can afford a tablet or a smartphone. On top of that, most people already own this technology in the first place. Whereas special engineered, ruggedized technology has been needed in past logistics, today, a driver can track their routes on the same iPad that their child plays games on.

We’ve reached a point where the technology logistical companies are using is considerably faster than their actual supply chain process, allowing them to not just stay in touch, but stay ahead of where they’re going.

Is it moving too fast? That’s the question.
It wasn’t long ago; a company would unveil its new flagship technology every 2-3 years. Now, it’s about every 6 months. With approval processes and the time it takes for implementation of technology into a supply chain system, technology can easily become dated by the time you start using it.

Ultimately, there’s only so much that can be done about this. In the same way a consumer buys a smartphone knowing a better one will most likely be available within the year, sooner or later, you just have to commit.

With the rapid increase of technology development, the longer you wait to implement it into your own systems, the more you risk getting left behind altogether.

Mobile: It’s Not a Luxury. It’s a Necessity.
Despite some hurdles and questions that remain, mobile technology is only going to become a bigger part of supply chain management. Harnessed effectively, it can take a lot of the guesswork out of the process, allowing your logistical efficiency to reach new heights.

Taking the Next Step
Are you ready to take your supply chain on the go? Let us know if we can help getting you there. If your company isn’t ready to take the risk and investment of supply chain management into your own hands, King Solutions will continue to be here.

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