The logistics industry has been implementing mobile strategies for years, but with the rise of the “digital supply chain,” investing in technology that effectively manages the end-to-end supply chain without wires has become a strategic imperative for many organisations. Growing complexities, increased competition, and changing customer demands are all pushing companies to leverage mobility in a way that helps to streamline their supply chains, speed up delivery times, more efficiently route and schedule their shipments, and gain real-time visibility of their assets.
Investing in digital supply chain improvement pays off; a recent white paper issued by the Center for Global Enterprise (CGE), entitled Digital Supply Chains: A Frontside Flip finds that companies can see a 20% reduction of procurement costs, a 50% reduction in supply chain costs, and an increase in revenue of 10%. Digital does not exist today unless it is mobilised, which means that a successful digital supply chain is built upon mobile devices and technology.
What is a digital supply chain?
Defined by the CGE as a customer-centric platform model that captures and maximises utilisation of real-time data coming from a variety of sources, the digital supply chain enables demand stimulation, inventory efficiency, as well as improves workforce and asset management to optimise performance and minimise risk. It doesn’t matter whether the goods or services are digital or physical; rather, it refers to the way that the supply chain process is managed.
Three ways mobility makes a difference
The digital supply chain doesn’t exist without mobilisation. By adding reliable, ruggedised mobile device solutions to the mix, companies can begin to rethink and transform their supply chains in a way that maximises their organisational models.
Here’s how mobile solutions are making a difference:
• Generate and stimulate demand for products. Trends like e-commerce and omni-channel have pushed companies to find better ways to generate, stimulate, and address demand levels. Using rugged handhelds and tablets to capture, analyse and utilise data, can help organisations to reduce forecasting errors, improve inventory accuracy, and increase customer service levels in today’s competitive business environment.
• Handle data more efficiently. Forrester Research estimates that as much as 60% to 73% of the data being collected is never successfully used for any strategic purpose. Yet supply chain-generated data and analytics can provide key insights into how your company is performing, the “pain points” that are creating poor customer experiences, and the specific operational areas where improvements are needed. And while many corporate and consumer users operate desktop computing devices, most are also active users of smartphones, handhelds, tablets, and/or laptops. The workforce—including those employees who actively manage supply chains—wants to be able to conduct company business from mobile devices. Using rugged handhelds and tablets that can withstand heavy use across warehouse environments can help companies fulfil this need while also enabling more efficient data collection and processing.
• Manage valuable human resources. Accounting for just about one-third of a company’s supply chain costs, labour plays a critical role in the digital supply chain. Companies can’t afford to mismanage their human resources in an environment where skilled workers are getting harder and harder to come by. To effectively leverage their digital supply chains, CGE says companies will need to put the emphasis on education, communication, organisational redesign, process redesign, and hiring—all of which are effectively enabled by mobile technologies. By equipping workers with mobile devices that can withstand the warehouse or transportation environment, companies can lower the total cost of ownership for their investments, reduce worker fatigue and frustration, and improve employee productivity.
Now is the time to invest in mobility
CGE predicts that by the year 2020, many more companies will be utilising – and in some cases mastering – their digital supply chain operations on a global basis. Driven by the proliferation of real-time data, changing customer demands, and a continually evolving business environment, companies that leverage mobile technology as the great enabler of the digital supply chain will reap the rewards of their efforts.
With over 20 years of experience in manufacturing the world’s best performing Fully Rugged PC’s, Tablets, 2-in-1’s and Handhelds, Panasonic mobility solutions are driving digital transformation in the supply chain industry. Visit Panasonic Toughbook to find out how we can help your business.
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