Mobility in the Supply Chain: Improving Operations

Mobile-native integrated systems work the same way across user PCs, tablets, and handhelds to keep supply chain operations on track.

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Mobility requirements are mounting as supply chains grow in complexity and COVID-19 exposes the repercussions of inflexible operations. In a spring 2020 IDG survey, mobile solutions ranked third after risk management and artificial intelligence (AI) among the technologies businesses said they need to weather unplanned supply chain disruptions. Data analytics and visualization tools were close behind.

There are several ways mobility puts real-time supply chain management within reach, from the manufacturing floor to customer doorsteps.

“Digitally tracking and analyzing the location of goods is the fundamental role of mobility in the supply chain architecture,” says Ganesh Gurumurthy, Director, Supply Chain, at GEP. GEP makes a mobile-native, AI-driven platform that integrates the full spectrum of supply chain management activities. Several mobility components work together in such applications to enable what Gurumurthy describes.

End-to-End Visibility and Control from Anywhere

For example, trading partners can source goods and materials, communicate, and fine-tune operations as situations fluctuate, even when on the go. From any device, they can access integrated manufacturing, warehouse, and transportation management systems for visibility into what’s happening throughout the supply chain. Using the cloud as a common storage area for easy data sharing and collaboration helps companies identify disruption and get operations back on track ASAP.

“At any time, an executive or shop floor manager or plant manager might want to run a report on a handheld device to check how well production and shipping are adhering to schedules,” says Gurumurthy. Professionals using mobile-native platforms can do so as they see fit from a business office, a warehouse, or at home during a pandemic.

Personnel get the same functionality, dashboard views, and security on their handhelds and tablets that they’re accustomed to on their business laptops and desktops. They can tap into reports, participate in sourcing, and review and approve orders and invoices using consistent processes and procedures regardless of work location and the access device they’re using.

Warehouse and Logistics

In the warehouse, mobile-native, unified platforms deliver inventory visibility across all product and component storage locations. This comes in handy if situations such as COVID are reducing the number of on-site personnel. “A single person with a handheld can receive multiple materials in the warehouse,” says Gurumurthy.

Supply chain apps compatible with zebra scanners, barcodes, and printers allow people to track warehouse transactions and handle inventory-related tasks for improved real-time decision-making, worker productivity, and inventory accuracy.

On the road, mobile technologies are also changing up the game. No longer do drivers contact home base only after completing a delivery or encountering a problem. Today, shippers and drivers communicate in real-time through their mobile-native apps across Wi-Fi, 4G, and 5G wireless networks. Frequent communication, combined with location services that dynamically find more expedient delivery routes, boost drivers’ ability to deliver goods on schedule.

Mobile, Integrated, and Smart

Growing complexities, competition, disruption, and changing consumer demands are driving supply chain managers to seek ways to hone their supply chains into well-oiled, agile systems. Mobile-native solutions, embedded into integrated, AI-powered digital supply chain systems, help them gain control quickly over real-time situations so they can maintain schedules, streamline delivery times, and keep customers satisfied.

For more information on mobile-native supply chain management platforms, visit www.gep.com/software/gep-nexxe.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.