Mobile technology aids supply chains
Written by Mike Lee, CEO of Airclic
Over the last few years, third party logistics providers (3PLs) have acknowledged the importance of mobile technology in maximizing the efficiency and productivity of their supply chain and logistics operations. However, according to the 2010 3PL Study, only 54 percent of companies are satisfied with their IT capabilities. This gap between the recognized value of mobile solutions and lack of satisfaction with current IT support indicates the need for further investment in mobile technologies.
Embracing Mobility for Competitive Advantage
As transportation and distribution companies continue to adopt mobile technology, the returns in improved efficiency, accuracy and cost-control are evident across businesses of varying sizes.
Deploying the right mobile solution allows visibility into the "who, what, where, when, and why” of delivery operations. Transportation and distribution customers are increasingly asking for comprehensive, 360-degree visibility through features that range from real-time delivery notification with signature capture to in-field exception handling.
However, it isn’t just the customers that are requesting mobile technology –– drivers are also beginning to realize the positive impact mobility has on their efficiency. Completing delivery data on a mobile device increases productivity by allowing drivers to input information and submit data to their office, from anywhere en route, in real-time. The advanced visibility and detailed status of inventory that a mobile solution provides ensures that orders are accurate and each item is tracked at every stage of the supply chain. Increased visibility and efficiency are not the only benefits of a mobile solution –– cost control is improved as well. Effective mobile solutions can cut costs associated with paper processes by an average of $9 per truck per day and can cut OS&D costs by more than half, averaging a $4 per truck per day savings.
For enterprises that are not utilizing mobile technology, supply chain operations are prone to more errors and provide less transparency for customers. Mobility decreases wasted time and money in an organization’s complete chain of operations and improves customer acquisition and retention–– all contributing to growth in an organization’s revenues and profitability. Giving customers superior service and cost while meeting market demands equates to a competitive advantage in this challenging market.
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Breaking the Barrier to Mobile Adoption
The value of mobility to a business’ bottom line is clear, and technology has advanced to break down perceived barriers to adoption.
IT decision makers and operations managers often look at device selection as an extremely costly, time consuming and risky process. Because of this, it is important to select mobile software products that are device and carrier agnostic, providing the largest breadth of choices and eliminating the need to purchase new hardware with every software upgrade or change.
Aside from cost, obsolescence is an issue–– hardware is continuously evolving, with new features being introduced constantly. While this may have been a barrier in the past, mindful providers will work with hardware manufacturers that have focused their efforts on developing devices that are feature rich and durable–– withstanding the time and rigors of the road–– all at a reasonable cost. Additionally, device agnostic software ensures that all components of an organization’s mobile solution can reside on a single device–– a key component in realizing maximized operational efficiency.
Investing in SaaS for your supply chain and logistics operations is an approach that not only saves businesses money on costly enhancements and maintenance costs, but also saves time by enabling anywhere, anytime functionality including product support and upgrades straight from the device.
When provisioning a new or upgraded mobile solution, providers are sometimes vague about the period of time it will take to deploy a new system or the level of interference it will cause to daily business operations. However, with nominal intrusions, the best mobility providers will have an organization fully up and running on its existing or preferred device and network within a month.
With advances in technology, many perceived barriers for mobile technology adoption no longer exist. With SaaS products you can implement a mobile solution that is device and carrier agnostic within 4-8 weeks and realize returns within 4-6 months.
Mobility decisions may seem intimidating at first, but providers with industry expertise are available to help simplify the process of identifying the most effective solution for your organization. The right mobile solution can be a valuable investment that will deliver a competitive advantage through increased efficiency, accuracy, visibility and cost control.
Edited by Kevin Scarpati
DHL Claim Multi-Sector Collaboration Key to Fighting COVID
Since January, global logistics leader DHL has distributed more than 200 million doses of the COVID vaccine to 120+ countries around the globe. While the US and UK recently rolled out immunisation plans to most citizens, countries with less developed infrastructure still desperately need more doses. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which currently has one of the highest per-capita immunisation rates, the government set up storage facilities to cover domestic and international demand. But storage, as we’ve learned, is little help if you can’t transport the goods.
This is where logistics leaders such as DHL make their impact. The company built over 50 new partnerships, bilateral and multilateral, to collaborate with pharmaceutical and private sector firms. With more than 350 DHL centres pressed into service, the group operated 9,000+ flights to ship the vaccine where it needed to go.
With new pandemic knowledge, DHL just released its “Revisiting Pandemic Resilience” white paper, which examined the role of logistics and supply chain companies in handling COVID-19. As Thomas Ellman, Head of Clinical Trials Logistics at DHL, said: “The past one year has highlighted the importance of logistics and supply chain management to manage the pandemic, ensure business continuity and protect public health. It has also shown us that together we are stronger”.
Multisector partnerships, DHL said, enabled rapid, effective vaccine distribution. While international scientists developed a vaccine in record time—five times faster than any other vaccine in history—manufacturers ramped up production and logistics teams rolled out distribution three times faster than expected. When commercial routes faced backups, logistics operators worked with military officers to transport vaccines via helicopters and boats.
In the UAE, the public-private HOPE Consortium distributed billions of COVID-19 doses to its civilians as well as other countries in need by partnering with commercial organisations such as DHL. For the first time, apropo for an unprecedented pandemic, logistics companies made strong connections with public health and government.
“While the race against the virus continues, leveraging the power of such collaborations and data analytics will be key”, said Katja Busch, Chief Commercial Officer DHL and Head of DHL Customer Solutions & Innovation. “We need to remain prepared for high patient and vaccine volumes, maintain logistics infrastructure and capacity, while planning for seasonal fluctuations by providing a stable and well-equipped platform for the years to come”.
How Do We Sustain Immunisation?
By the end of 2021, experts estimate that we need approximately 10 billion doses of vaccines—many of which will be shipped to areas of the world, such as India, South Africa, and Brazil, that lack significant infrastructure. This is perhaps the greatest divide between countries that have rolled out successful immunisation programmes and those that have not. As Busch noted, “the UAE’s significant investments in creating robust air, sea, and land infrastructure facilitated logistics and vaccine distribution, helping us keep supply chains resilient”.
Neither is the novel coronavirus a one-time affair. If predictions hold, COVID will be similar to seasonal colds or the flu: here to stay. When fall comes around each year, governments will need to vaccinate the world as quickly as possible to ensure long-term immunisation against the virus. This time, logistics companies must be better prepared.
Yet global immunisation, year after year, is no small order. To keep reinfection rates low and slow the spread of COVID, governments will likely need 7-9 billion annual doses of the vaccine to meet that mark. And if DHL’s white paper is any judge of success, multi-sector supply chain partnerships will set the gold standard.