“We don’t need a mobile strategy. We only scan barcodes.”
I’ve heard this sentiment expressed on more than one site visit. But in the digital economy, it’s getting more and more difficult to believe. Everywhere you turn, you see technology deployed to enhance business practices. Mobile technology has become as much of a business tool as the ballpoint pen. In many cases, mobile is replacing that reliable tool!
Mobile technology delivers the ability to share information across business units in your supply chain. In an environment where the company that can provide the information first wins, end-to-end visibility is a powerful competitive differentiator.
Consider a common situation: receiving a purchase order on the dock. You’ve purchased the product in plenty of time to fulfill the orders that have come in and, according to the paperwork and shipment notifications, everything shipped as it should. However, when the receiver processes the material, he discovers that the material shipped is not the material ordered. With simple barcode scanning, he can easily reject the shipment and complete the process. But without a mobile strategy, he still needs to grab the clipboard off the wall and fill out a shortage report.
When will you get the information that the shipment you expected was not the correct product? How soon will you learn that your company will not be able to fulfill orders? With a mobile strategy in place, when there is an exception like this, you can receive a notification immediately. Alerts and notifications can become an integrated part of the receipt process—with no extra steps or processes required by the receiver on the dock. Instead, you’ll get a notification as soon as the receiver discovers the discrepancy.
While the above example is a simple process, consider truly eliminating paperwork on a shop floor. No more need to hand a picking slip to a user to scan a barcode to pick an order or print a bill of lading for a driver to sign off.
Do you need to capture a picture of what a shipment looks like when it leaves your dock and associate it with the order? Do you need to have visibility to multiple manufacturing lines, multiple pickers on a floor, multiple technicians in the field or a sales force spread across four continents? If so, you need a mobile strategy after all!