As mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets become more prominent - the Pew Internet and American Life Project reported in December that 85 percent of American adults own a cellphone, up from 73 percent in April 2006 - their role in helping companies better manage and oversee their supply chains will likely expand.
Logistics expert Travis Parsons wrote in a recent guest post for Logistics Viewpoints that businesses will soon learn how to more effectively use mobile data collection systems and other new technologies to better operate their supply chains.
"You wake up in the morning and grab your smartphone," he wrote. "You notice you have 5 notifications from your network about important events pending. You quickly scan your news feed to see what conversations and key updates you missed during the night. A key topic catches your eye and you jump into a discussion with a group of people around the world. You accept an invitation from a pending request to connect. You see that a new location-aware app is available that looks very useful. In five minutes, you're in sync with your connected global network of people, places, and things. The scenario above describes using Facebook on a smartphone. But it also describes what is coming to enterprise software and supply chain management."
How Mobile Data Collection Tools Help
Parsons outlined four main ways that companies can expect mobile data collection to improve their supply chains:
- Less training required, as today's employees are usually well versed in using smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices
- Constant connectivity, as mobile data collection systems allow executives to access real-time shipping and inventory data from any location
- More streamlined communications with all partner organizations involved in the supply chain, ensuring that any problems can be quickly and properly addressed
- Greater engagement levels, as mobile data collection tools ensure that everyone from warehouse workers to C-suite executives can collaborate and access quality information from anywhere
Andreas Bitterer, a research vice president at Gartner, said that while some companies remain reticent with mobile devices, this will soon change as more organizations learn about and realize all of the positives that smartphones and tablets can bring, Information Management reported. Parsons wrote that those involved in supply chain management who have limited experience using a mobile device for enterprise purposes may initially fail to see its benefits, but anyone who has used a smartphone or tablet extensively in business can more fully grasp its positives, and they will be the ones leading organizations to more thoroughly adopt a mobile data collection system.