Improvement within the supply chain depends on the ability to increase communication between different stakeholders. Communication at this level may require the implementation of new technology and better data collection. However, a broader understanding of supplier-buyer relationships, a detailed view of the supply chain and increased productivity are the provided return.
"Various technologies like radio-frequency identification, big data, the Internet of Things and in-memory technology play a vital role in creating the collaboration platform," Swapnadeep Nayak, Frost & Sullivan Technical Insights senior research analyst, said in a press release. "The need to share information over a single platform at low costs especially accelerated the implementation of cloud computing in the collaborative supply chain process."
Data Collection Can Increase Communication Throughout the Supply Chain
Improving and increasing data collection throughout the supply chain with software that integrates into existing ERP systems provides a view of the supply chain that can be used by many different stakeholders. Because data is collected at all sections of the supply chain, it is easier to see connections from one department to another.
On the shop floor, data collection can be used to track employee productivity and efficiency. The information gathered can be used by human resource departments and department trainers to make staffing improvements. The information can also be used to track down missing or incomplete orders.
Improving Worker Efficiency With New Technology
Even properly trained employees are limited by what they can do without the best technology. RFgen's white paper, "8 Signs You Need an Automated Data Collection Solution," reports on a survey by the International Data Corporation on employee time management. The study found that workers spend 27 hours per week searching, gathering and analyzing information. More than six hours is spent on work that is never found or duplicated. If this type of work is currently done using a paper system, then automated data collection could streamline this process.
Better Inventory Control and Supplier Relations
Mobile data collection can track products even when they are in the possession of third-party handlers. This can improve the view a company has of its logistical partners. Supply chain managers can determine if certain orders that are more likely to be lost, damaged or delivered late. Further analysis can determine whether shipping problems are related to warehouse procedures, such as packing methods, or if the shipping company is to blame.