With the widespread adoption of mobile technologies across the globe, the effects have been dramatic in both our daily lives and in the world of business. With every individual now constantly connected and accessible 24/7, the impacts of mobile technology have been profound in how companies operate and engage with their customers.
Here, we will explore some of the many ways that the proliferation of mobile devices has affected the logistics industry. Mobile tech touches virtually all aspects of logistics, including warehousing and inventory management, transportation, fulfilment, customer service, and the retail experience, both in-store and online. These trends are critical for businesses to understand in order to maintain their competitive edge in rapidly evolving markets.
The affordability of mobile technology and apps that integrate and connect directly to business systems has drastically improved. What used to be a massive capital investment is now simply the cost of doing business. In addition, since mobile technology can now do more than ever before, more and more companies are realizing the value that it can bring in shorter payback times through improved consistency, accuracy, time savings and customer satisfaction, amongst other factors.
Improved Data Flow & Accuracy
Mobile devices have replaced traditional manual methods of tracking just about everything that a business would want to track. Virtually anything that used to be jotted down on paper or kept in files or on clipboards is now entered directly in to the business’ software systems with mobile apps.
In many cases, the possibility for human error has been all but eliminated with the implementation of mobile systems that integrate with existing bar code and scanning technology, making data entry of shipment or product information automatic, saving time and ensuring accuracy throughout the entire supply chain.
Precise Location Tracking
Virtually every modern mobile device includes an integrated GPS, which means the precise location of each and every truck and shipment can be accurately tracked at any moment. This level of accuracy and transparency is invaluable to maintaining an efficient supply chain. Transportation delays can be easily avoided, customer expectations can be better managed, and contingency plans can be developed more effectively.
Inventory Management & Order Fulfilment
With mobile technology accessible to every member of your warehousing and fulfilment teams, you can realize many benefits in inventory management and order processing operations. Apps can be used to track quantity and location of parts and products to make order picking and packing faster and more accurate.
In addition, stock levels can be continually updated in real time to ensure that replenishment is always done at the best time to help optimize inventory and purchasing processes. With mobile devices and apps always connected to business information systems, these types of data will flow seamlessly directly to the people that need it most.
Accessibility of Transportation Resources
One of the more intriguing ways that mobile technology has disrupted the world of logistics is the way it enables small business and even individuals to provide valuable services to large corporations in terms of local coverage, LTL shipments, and enhanced last-mile delivery.
Companies such as Amazon and Uber are two of the driving forces in this area of mobile-enhanced logistics, recruiting a diverse range of transportation resources and independent drivers to offer nimble and rapid movement of products in a wide array of markets across the globe.
Customer Service & Retail Experience
While the majority of the effects we’ve discussed so far relate primarily to the business-to-business side of logistics, it’s important to recognize how these technologies have impacted the consumer retail experience, both in-store and online.
Mobile-optimized e-commerce sites are processing more and more transactions each and every day. These sites offer a “shop anywhere, anytime” experience and the ability to compare prices between online and physical retail stores instantly. In many cases, customers will browse a physical retail location to evaluate or compare products, and then conduct their purchase directly from their mobile device based on pricing, availability, and convenience.
Mobile devices in the hands of retail store employees can be equally powerful, enabling them to check inventory levels at multiple locations instantaneously, compare products and pricing from competitors, and even complete the purchase for customers from anywhere in the store. These added capabilities help deliver a smoother customer experience and less time spent in lines or waiting for service. Retail and customer service employees become more informed and better equipped to handle a wider range of tasks.
Moving Forward with Mobile Technology
The benefits that mobile technology can bring to the logistics operations of a business are clear, as many companies have already realized. Through mobile technology, your business can obtain greater visibility in to the performance of your supply chain and identify opportunities to gain efficiencies and reduce costs.
You’ll have up-to-date insight on all aspects of inventory management, stock levels, parts supply, and movement of product throughout your warehousing and transportation systems. This type of accurate data helps to enable smarter decisions in terms of resource allocation and investment for future growth.
Mobile technology helps improve the customer experience, making their interactions with your business smoother and more seamless, with fewer obstacles to overcome. As studies have shown time and time again, the easier a company is to do business with, the more satisfied customers will be with their experience and the more likely they are to come back and repeat.
If your company has not yet deployed mobile technology in your logistics and supply chain operations, the time for action is now. Through mobile-enhanced warehousing and transportation, your business can gain a substantial competitive advantage that will help you achieve your growth objectives, reduce costs, and deliver a better customer experience.
To learn more about how mobile technology can be integrated in to your supply chain, contact the team at SCI today.
Our logistics professionals will be glad to answer any of your questions and help you leverage mobile technology in your logistics operations. If you’re not familiar with who SCI is, learn more about who we are in this short video.