Enterprise Mobility and Data Collection

Tim Ingles
Fri, Jan 23, 2015

A major topic of discussion for those in the supply chain industry has been enterprise mobility. How can a company move away from heavy amounts of paperwork and leverage barcode scanners and other mobile devices in order to collect data on the fly and have more accurate results thrown into the bargain? According to Australian magazine ABC, mobile technology is becoming a major tool for businesses that want to keep data at managers' fingertips through tablet computers with up-to-the-minute information about factories and warehouses, as well as suppliers. Many companies are also implementing bring-your-own-device policies, so that workers can use their own tools to access information quickly and efficiently using mobile enterprise application platforms. According to the Software Development Times, this industry is becoming larger as more businesses implement mobile solutions. Business 2 Community goes so far as to suggest that 2015 will be a year in which this practice begins to flourish for companies across the board.

The advantages of enterprise mobility are manifold, but some companies might be concerned the solution is difficult to implement. In fact, the real problem may happen when companies choose not to use such a solution, and instead opt for older practices that will soon become obsolete.

Mobile Solutions for Supply Chains
At a basic level, enterprise mobility revolves around having software such as a barcode scanner that workers use to scan raw materials and finished goods as they enter and leave a factory or warehouse. The information on the barcode is associated with the relevant suppliers and logistics companies that either just moved the product or are about to ship it somewhere. By doing this with handheld machines, workers don't have to fill out paperwork.

This may seem like a simple enough fix, but actually, having every item scanned will increase the level of detail that logistics managers will have. This will help when they use their own mobile devices to read up on the latest shipments coming into and leaving warehouses and factories. They will know, on a box-by-box level, exactly where something is coming and where it is going. This allows for companies to analyze their shipping data extremely carefully, so that no stone is left unturned. By leveraging software that can make the proper calculations, companies can estimate which suppliers are most efficient for a particular factory, and pick out the best carriers for moving goods to particular regions of the U.S. Even something like the product mix at a factory can be estimated by using predictive analytics.

This all begins by having every item scanned by workers as they load or unpack shipments.

Having the Data at Your Fingertips
Mobile enterprise solutions allow managers to access all collected data from their smart phones. This way, they will never be left out of the loop. Instead, workers will improve their productivity through a mobile enterprise application platform that lets employees use the same software they've been using before.

The Cost of Not Updating
Those companies that keep their old tools may face irrelevancy in the future as the tide begins to shift dramatically in the direction of enterprise mobility. When one company has workers who are using their own devices that directly connect with data in real time, allowing them to work anywhere, including on the move from one factory to another, this business will have a major advantage over a company that doesn't even perform simple data collection. Capturing data will let businesses know how best to keep their factories running smoothly. It is the easiest way to manage supply chains so that warehouses get the deliveries they need regularly and on time.

In other words, staying relevant in a time when there is a major revolution on hand will become more important than ever as companies take up these new tools.

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