I don’t really see my iPhone as a mobile phone anymore – it’s so much more than that, and judging by the number of people as attached to their phone as I am to mine, I’m far from alone. Every day I use it for a multitude of different applications that assist my life. Things like tracking times and distance whilst exercising, checking travel status, messages, watching the Rugby World Cup and occasionally tweeting about life thoughts.
At the excellent European Gartner Supply Chain Executive Conference last week, I was really surprised to see Kinaxis was the only vendor actively demonstrating a functional supply chain management product on a mobile device during the course of the two day event. Isn’t that a path we should all be headed down given society’s acceptance and reliance on mobile technology these days? Aren’t more and more businesses finding ways to allow their employees to work from where they are? Why should supply chain be any different?
Customers are driving the supply chain. There’s no question about that. The demands of consumers, in an age where information is king, are becoming ever more dynamic and the need to be responsive is paramount. If a sales person is on the road and he gets a call from one of his major customers asking if an order can be achieved – how long is reasonable to get back to them with a definitive answer? Well, it probably depends on the circumstances of the order, but I’d state that in nearly every single case, responding quickly with accuracy will always be better than either a slow response, an inaccurate one, or worst of all, a slow and inaccurate answer.
Technology is an enabler to decision making and if the technology is there, why not use it to your advantage to gain that competitive edge? Having the ability to take part in critical supply chain decisions on the fly means shorter cycle times, improved productivity, and the ability to get things done in real-time, regardless of how far apart you and your team are.