Tuesday, September 23, 2014
To what extent are best in class supply chain technology trends useful?
Here are the top 10 trends and technologies impacting supply chain operations spanning production, distribution, retail and remote service.
1. Comprehensive connectivity – from 802.11 wireless LAN technologies, cellular networks, Bluetooth
2. Voice and GPS communication integrated into rugged computers
3. Speech recognition:
Speech recognition helps by diminishing the requirement for users to take a gander at a machine show. Taking after the bigger IT patterns of open frameworks and interoperability, discourse combination/distinguishment ability can now be effectively implanted into various legacy programming bundles, including distribution center administration, picking and putaway, stock, examination, quality control and different applications.
4. Digital imaging:
Transportation and dissemination organizations are utilizing advanced cams incorporated into the portable machines so their drivers can catch confirmation of conveyance, store stamped receipts, and point of interest conditions that avoid conveyance. Specialists utilize the engineering for confirmation of administration. Different applications incorporate catching rack shows and monitoring trade promotion compliance, gathering aggressive data, documentation by overseers, gathering confirmation for mishap reports, and recording harm and utilization conditions for guarantee claims.
5. Portable printing:
Utilizing portable printers and machines together lets deals, administration and conveyance faculty give clients the documentation they desire, while making an electronic record that liberates the venture from needing to process paperwork. Portable printing proves proven labor savings in industrial environments by sparing laborers from needing to make an inefficient excursion to a central location to get names, pick tickets, manifests and other output.
6. 2D & other bar coding advances:
As reading ability has improved, so has the adoption and value of 2D bar coding. The recent emergence of auto-focus imaging technology will help bring 2D bar codes into the mainstream for item anagement, traceability, MRO and other operations.
A sub-trend behind RFID adoption for inventory, warehouse and distribution operations is the use of vehicle-mounted and other mobile RFID readers to enhance or replace stationary models. Forklift-mounted and handheld readers can cover multiple docks, and be used in warehouse aisles and elsewhere throughout the facility, further reducing the required RFID investment. Plus, they put information directly in the user’s hands, so they can prevent errors, rather than just record them after they occur. Asset management applications also provide an opportunity to leverage an RFID foundation developed for compliance or other distribution activity for internal benefits.
To determine whether one RFID tagging method results in better logistics performance than the others, APQC looked at how organizations with different strategies perform on metrics related to distribution processes and warehouse cost.
Real time location systems (RTLS) can be used to expand wireless local area network into an asset tracking system. Any device connected to the wireless LAN can be tracked and located. One application is to track forklifts via their vehicle-mounted computer’s radio. The Wireless Location Appliance and supporting software can track the radio’s location in real time to support efficient dynamic storage, routing, monitor dwell time, and gather data for productivity and asset utilization analysis.
9. Remote management
10. Wireless and device security:
Stronger security is another mainstream business trend and requirement that is supported in supply chain technology. Mobile computers can be locked down so customer information and other data can’t be accessed if the device is lost or stolen. Rugged wireless computers and data collection equipment also support many of the leading securities used to protect enterprise wireless networks, including 802.11i, 802.1x, WPA, WPA2, LEAP, FIPS-140, RADIUS servers, VPNs and more.
Hence, developments in mobile computing, wireless communication, RFID, bar code and other data collection and communications technologies are helping businesses extend visibility and control over more areas of their operations. The question to ponder upon is that does these technologies help the supply chain minimize the amount of touches and the touch time in supply chain transactions, so as to reduce the number of potential failure points?