Since the 1970s when it was first introduced, mobile technology has come a long way. Today, mobile devices, in addition to facilitating communication, are helping businesses manage their supply chain more effectively. Mobile devices are fast replacing bulky scanners in warehouses and warehouse managers from around the world use mobile technology to track the movement of goods within their warehouses and on the road.
Uses of mobile technology in supply chain management
Managing the supply chain is the biggest headache for any manager. Earlier, businesses used to rely heavily on manual processes to manage their supply chain; however, with time, they have realized the fallacy of the idea that they need to manage everything themselves. To streamline their supply chain, more supply chain managers are implementing the best mobile technology in their warehouses.
Mobile computing solutions are primarily used for warehouse management, asset tracking, and logistics management. Thanks to advancement in mobile and barcoding technology, field and warehouse workers no longer have to carry bulky scanners and can use their smartphones to perform various tasks such as scanning barcodes and feeding data into the system.
Mobile technology facilitates inter and intra team communication. Mobile technology in supply chain makes it easier for team members to exchange critical information through pictures, messages and recorded videos. Mobile technology can be integrated with other technologies such as IoT for real-time asset tracking and management. Data collected with the help of mobile devices provides insights into different trends and is often used by top management to make critical decisions.
Transforming your supply chain with mobile technology
The use of mobile technology is no longer limited to warehouses. Today, mobile devices are being used by delivery teams, logistics teams, warehouse management teams and other teams involved in supply chain management. Wondering how mobile technology can transform your supply chain? Let’s discuss.
1. Improved information flow
Prior, supply chain teams used to rely heavily on manual systems. Traditional methods were used to record every information that a company thought necessary. Not only are manual processes error-prone, but also time-taking and effort-intensive. Businesses following traditional methods have a hard time wading through tons of paperwork.
Mobile technology addresses these problems. You can use mobile devices to enter critical information into your warehouse management and other software. Mobile systems that integrate with barcode and scanning technology can help reduce errors and save time, enabling your team members to dedicate more time to critical tasks.
2. Precise location tracking
Most modern mobile devices come with integrated GPS. GPS-enabled devices help teams track the precise location of shipments. Many advanced systems predict optimal routes based on the driver’s location, helping avoid delays and meeting customer expectations. Additionally, when shipments are delivered on time, drivers are able to achieve their targets (number of trips to be made every day) on a regular basis, which promotes overall efficiency.
3. Improved asset tracking
Thanks to mobile technology, real-time asset tracking is no longer a far-fetched idea. Warehouse management teams use mobile devices to track the movement of items within the warehouse. Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets are used as barcode scanners. These devices are connected to logistics systems and databases for real-time visibility.
Top management can use critical information stored in their databases for a number of purposes such as asset maintenance, asset allocation, forecasting and planning.
4. Better reporting
Mobile technology facilitates real-time reporting. Instead of waiting for an opportune time to have a face-to-face conversation with a team member, the person can exchange information with them via messages, pictures or video clips. Real-time information sharing helps to avoid delays in making critical decisions.
Most mobile systems allow users to download inventory management and other apps, helping them access the system from a remote location. The feature is a blessing for employees who are always on the move. People who work from remote locations or those who keep on moving can use apps to make changes in the system, feed critical data and access reports.
Mobile technology makes the lives of truck drivers much easier, who can access their schedule in real-time. Drivers also get notifications and updates regarding route changes. Further, drivers can use mobile technology to report information digitally. Mobile devices can be used to capture customer signature and other critical information, reducing the need for maintaining complex paperwork.
5. Improved business intelligence
Mobile technology provides an overview of the supply chain network. Your managers can access key reports, statistics and data to develop a better understanding of different trends. Mobile technology users get updates and notifications on their mobile devices, enabling them to manage their tasks effectively.
When managers have key information and critical data on their fingertips, they can get to the root cause of the problem plaguing their supply chain networks and related operations. A deeper understanding of where they are going wrong helps managers come up with action plans to address these issues.
6. Improved customer experience
The final objective of any supply chain manager is to improve their customer experience. Mobile devices can help achieve this objective. Warehouse management teams can use mobile devices as barcode scanners to track stocks of in-demand items, ensuring that these items do not go out of stock. Avoiding frequent stock-outs helps improve customer satisfaction.
Further, mobile technology can help ensure timely deliveries, which goes a long way in strengthening your bond with your customers.
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