Supply chain managers demand mobile tech


Supply chain insider Donna Fritz, writing for Supply Chain Digital, recently described the spreading need for mobile solutions in the supply chain management field. Keeping a supply chain functional requires a number of important actions, perhaps none more so than maintaining visibility. Taking supply chain software mobile is one way to ensure that visibility is never lost, and that companies can react quickly to any challenges that may arise.

The same technology areas that are speeding and improving business processes in other fields apply to the supply chain, mobility and the cloud among them.

Mobile for agility

Fritz pointed out that companies have a constant need for visibility and that mobile technology can slake this desire. She stated that the latest supply chain software is taking advanced oversight processes into the mobile realm, rather than simply using tablets and smartphones to collect and process data. She specified that processes that once existed on paper or in an ERP system tied to a desktop computer are now accessible from the field, enhancing companies' reaction speeds considerably.

Beyond the ability to manage internal processes is B2B integration. This, too, is going mobile, according to Fritz. She stated that moving processes such as invoice approvals to smartphones and tablets can expedite processes that require executive approval. Instead of changing or diluting the command structure of the supply chain, adding mobility to communication technology allows the same executives to be available more of the time. Snags that once prevented processes from reaching completion on time can now be dispensed with, even when the responsible official is not in the office.

Cloud helps

Mobile technology interacts well with the cloud. The ability to access data from anywhere means full control of an integration is possible from mobile devices. IBM recently announced more cloud offerings for its Smarter Commerce initiative, with B2B integration a specific area of focus. The new products promise cost reduction through real-time data access around the globe.

Making sure a company has a file transfer system it can rely on can save time and money. All of the supply chain management efforts in the world can be wasted if a critical piece of data does not make the transfer on schedule. Companies with a mobile version of their transfer system could have an even greater advantage, with executives able to monitor, schedule and oversee transfers from the office, the road or the warehouse itself.