Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Technology Leads to New Trends in Logistics

Technology Leads to New Trends in Logistics

Overall, supply chain and logistics management have greatly benefited from the continuous improvement of wireless technology, allowing greater flexibility and streamlining of processes. This mobile market can be seen in a variety of ways, detailed in the article “Supply Chain and Logistics: 8 Trends Taking us Closer to Visibility.” The trends are summarized below.

1. Wireless technology allows a clearer focus on efficiency and transparency - Wireless tracking allows greater efficiency in understanding the location of products and their time to consumers. Being able to keep track, in real time, of shipment to delivery allows the company to understand where and how to cut certain time-costing practices and bottlenecks in the logistics process, allowing for greater efficiency overall.

2. End user driving the market for new technology
Managing logistics is no longer feasible only on non-mobile devices. This technology transformation pushes tech-developers to make mobile products directly tied to the needs of manufacturers and distributors.

3. Mobile solutions are forcing logistics out of comfort zone - Automated solutions for logistics management is a necessity in real-time. Manual systems are no longer viable, meaning that logistics management has had to adjust nearly “overnight.”

4. Smart phone is a stop of the supply chain - Consumer products are beginning to be re-vamped to fit into the mold of outdoor and rough use. Smart phones are being utilized for precise use throughout the entire supply chain.

5. Workforce extends beyond the warehouse – Mobile devices and new applications allow connection between all individuals in the workforce. Whether it’s a truck driver or a stocker in the warehouse, all members of the organization are able to view and access relative information and connect via wireless methods.

6. Technology gives smaller shippers a bigger chance to compete - Enhanced technology infrastructure is as important as a large workforce, for smaller shippers and producers. Lacking a huge workforce, its incredibly important for smaller companies to perfect their wireless supply chains in order to compete with larger competitors.

7. Integration of devices and technology is not necessarily the right move - The type of wireless technology utilized depends greatly on the role workers role in the company. Different devices, data and applications can be specialized for different roles within the company.

8. Information is key – Companies cannot only depend on new wireless mobile devices to bring their supply-chain management up to speed. The information that is available to employees and companies is still the most important aspect of integrating supply-chain management into the future.

These trends obviously praise the high-tech and advanced solutions in logistics management, but we know from the article “The Trouble with Enterprise Software” that the systems are generally much more “patchwork,” allowing for gaps in processing and keeping the system from being fully integrated. Does this mismatch of trends, the need for higher technology solutions in the logistics realm and the standardization of this technology throughout the entire process, prove to be an opportunity for shipping companies or an absolute weakness? How can companies overcome this lapse in tech in order to stay viable in the increasingly technology driven marketplace of supply-chain management without simply investing more and more millions into the purchase of new software?

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