The sharing economy - or collaborative consumption - is a modern idea that has taken the business world by storm. Companies like Uber, Lyft and Airbnb provide services without having to pay for the physical assets of traditional transport and hotel organizations. Instead, they connect customers to products and assets through modern technology.
The practice of consolidating resources is not just used by startups, major retailers Best Buy and Macy's plan to share real estate in an effort to sell products with less overhead, according to Forbes. Whether it be poor economy or a desire to be eco-friendly, businesses turn to sharing tactics to save resources and implement innovative operations.
Cooperation is more important than competition in the current climate. All companies can profit from this new idea if they have assets that aren't put to optimal use or they want to find a cost-efficient source for new equipment. However, to communicate with sharing partners, supply chain logistics management employees need automated data collection systems.
Sharing Business and Warehouse Assets
Warehouse management solutions need to make the most out of inventory operation assets. The equipment, tools and vehicles used to transport products and prepare shipments can be expensive. Proper use and maintenance prevents accelerated depreciation and asset data collection procedures show how the materials are put to use.
When data records indicate a forklift spends the majority of its time gathering dust, it's a sign businesses should find a better plan for their investment. Supply & Demand Chain Executive said warehouse operations need to study their historical data to determine if they should rent, buy, sell or share their assets.
For example, Best Buy found the cost of a retail location overhead was not cost-effective when it could offer its products through another business's building. The organization found a solution when its records indicated current practices weren't feasible, but partnering and sharing assets was better for its current supply chain needs.
Companies can employ this tactic on a large or small scale. There's no need to waste money on real estate or extra pallets, if a better solution is available.
How to Share Buildings and Equipment
Whether or not sharing is feasible is dependent on the businesses in a particular region. When a company searches for a collaborative partner, they need to find an organization that has the appropriate assets or a need for the equipment the company looks to loan out. This means managers have to practice accurate data collection procedures, and find another business that does as well.
The Collaborative Consumption information website suggested data is critical to successful business communications. Records of asset use not only show when equipment is available for utilization by more than one party, but performing automated data collection while sharing equipment helps track depreciation. If one company puts a forklift to greater use than its partner, it should be responsible for the cost of maintaining the equipment. A complete account of actions captured through mobile data collection devices and barcode labels stops partnerships from failing due to miscommunications and clearly indicates who needs to pay for what and why.
After enough time working with a partner who shares data and assets, companies can learn more about warehouse procedures and inventory movements. Partners can share more than equipment, they can also exchange strategies for use or distribution paths for vehicles that might profit both organizations. If the plans are successful, data could help determine when it is time to move away from sharing and invest in permanent assets.
Even when it comes time to end a partnership sharing data shows business transparency and which plans are the best choice in any activity.