Sunday, March 2, 2014

Google’s contribution to Supply Chain Management

Think technology, think what? “Google” is one of the names that appears at the top of our list of organizations that revolutionized the industry in a number of ways. Starting from its name till its communication portals every single effort has been to make data visible to its end customer. It believes in the power of being endowed with knowledge and information. With that as the broader goal the company has modernized every sector through diverse products with the wings of technology and innovation.

Google Glass is one of those products that has created a stir in the market even before its full-scale launch. It is a wearable device quoted at $1500 and projects GPS intelligent customized data 15 cm from the user’s eye. Much discussion has been on the rounds on it being a good or bad consumer electronic device. But industry experts have started to see its benefits as a valuable tool in the manufacturing industry.  It is predicted that a decade from now Google Glass would be used in every industrial unit by supply chain managers as a wearable device. With manufacturing units being ten times the size of football fields, despite the innovation in warehousing and distribution channels there is a constant need for supply chain employees to get a continued sense of the goods around them and what is happening to them. This keeps them updated and helps them make decisions on the fly.

A cool example provided by one of the experts is the case when a unit manager notices an intermediary product and wants to track the shipment status or the location within a warehouse. He/she can give a verbal command and have the results displayed right in the front. Further, supply chain queries like bar code/QR code scanning and inventory checks can be performed on the fly. This revolutionizes the modus operandi and contributes to efficiency.

Employees will be able to share real time data with cross-functionally and on a higher level organizations will be able to communicate with their suppliers and partners. This many times removes the requirement of current world communication portals like smartphones, email systems and also reduces the complexity of analyzing data sets using ERP systems, thereby serving as a great complement within the chain.

Some of the possible outcomes of this are: improved sales processes, cloud integration to enable wide data access, enhanced accuracy of everyday tasks and hands free working in industrial plants. On a higher level, Google Glass will be improving and integrating B2B processes through seamless flow of processed real-time information. This translates to reduced costs, enhances product quality and raises the bar for customer loyalty within the competitive market. The overall system may be transformed as results of Google Glass specific applications that would cater to different user needs in a single platform.

Google Glass has such a potential to have a personalized, deep and wide thrust within the industry which both supply chain operators as well as marketers need to realize quickly in order to be a pioneer in leveraging this technology for their pressing needs. It supports the growing trend of passive data consumption and user behavior prediction and Google plans to grow its capacity using humanoid bots as a parallel operating system that will make observe and suggest intelligent information.

The growth of technologies to enhance processes and daily lives has been so rapid. Do industries and organizations have the same velocity to adapt these trends and give up the legacy systems behind? Cloud computing took 10 years to become an established resource within the industry. Will Google Glass take a similar timeframe? Is the industry held back more because of cultural and political reasons rather than because of technological reasons ?

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