Technology Supply Chain Management: Strengthen your Supply Chain
Technology product distribution requires highly complex and dynamic supply chains, which demand careful and effective management. Having a good understanding of the changes and processes in their supply chain is a prerequisite for the business’ competitiveness on the market. Partnering with a supply chain solutions company that is an expert in managing the complex end-to-end product lifecycle of devices and equipment enables true success.
Technology Product Lifecycle
Technical tools have a variance in impact as they are used for either everyday tasks like printing or banking, or critical procedures like MRI scanning in the healthcare field. The management of various types of technological products involves processes and phases to ensure proper storage, configuration, maintenance, repair and refurbishment – or destruction. In a technology supply chain management scenario, full lifecycle management is a term used to describe the phases which technological devices or equipment undergo throughout their entire “lifetime”. With the product lifecycle complexity, it’s hard to overestimate the value of a supply chain partner such as SCI – one which has end-to-end capabilities in place as established and reliable service solutions which eliminate the need to outsource different elements of the supply chain to multiple service providers.
Freight Management for Technology Clients
Shipping your products to customers and consumers in the most cost effective way while respecting required delivery dates represents additional challenges for technology product distribution. A trusted 3PL can help by providing a wide range of transportation management solutions that enhance the customer experience while being cost effective. For example, SCI’s freight management solutions include same-day, next flight out, direct drive, white glove shipping of high value products, full truck load, less than a truck load, etc.
Order & Inventory Management for Technology Clients
Controlling costs, maintaining detailed records, and retaining warehouse inventory levels are some activities involved in effective order and inventory management.
Order management in the technology sector is broken down into two key groups – new installation (move/add/change) and field services (break/fix), including processes such as:
- Product acquisition, which includes helping the customers buy equipment for their network, where SCI’s contacts in the parts and equipment industry can be used to leverage pricing and parts access
- Order deployment and refresh management
- Inventory management, which includes multi-level management through serial number tracking, product number tracking, SKU control, remote asset tracking, staging inventory management, and kitting
- Quality control and maintenance
Configuration & Staging for Technology Clients
In order for components to flawlessly work together, they should be well configured so that all the different pieces that make up the solution are interconnected. Configuration and staging activities include:
- Setting and testing wireless network connections
- Staging devices and equipment part of an entire solution, ensuring connectivity through all components (e.g. a retail store cash register connected to a computer monitor, debit/credit machine, cash drawer, scale, etc.)
- New installations, activating new devices, and trouble shooting
- Integration of Mac and IP addresses
- Updating imaging and software (flashing)
- Asset tagging and serial capture for monitoring and tracking products
Depending on the device or equipment, the configuration and staging requirements as well as the complexity of this process can vary, and it’s important to partner with a service provider that can support the different levels of complexity based on your product.
White Glove Shipping Services: Installation & Commissioning
SCI White Glove facilities perfectly illustrate the full lifecycle management for products and equipment in the technology sector. From computers to bank machines, all technology that goes through the “white glove” facilities experiences their own appropriate path in the lifecycle.
White Glove facility overview
Due to the value and sensitivity of products and equipment in the “white glove” facilities, SCI White Glove maintains high security, with key card access into the facilities, and many repair labs secured and temperature controlled as well. Employees who work in the warehouse must not enter with any cell phones, bag, coats, or any other personal items. In addition, food and drinks are prohibited to avoid damaging products and equipment.
Bank machine in the secured and temperature controlled repair room at the White Glove facility
Bank machines are a perfect example of a product with full technology lifecycle being managed by SCI. SCI White Glove’s highly trained technicians remove, repair and replace bank machines themselves. A bank machine that makes it to the White Glove warehouse will first be picked up by team members, brought to the warehouse for acquisition, undergo pre-installation such as configuration and staging, and then undergo the different phases of distribution such as assembly, installation, training and testing, network set-up, and courier installation and testing involving swap of the old or broken bank machine to a new and working machine “in the field” at a customer’s site.
Courier Installation & Commissioning for Technology Clients
A team of skilled technicians configure, assemble and test all components of a particular solution and connect it to the network to ensure the entire piece functions flawlessly. In addition, advance exchange, courier exchange/install, and technician swap of broken parts and equipment in the field also contribute to this phase, including:
- Network set up
Post Sales Services & Reverse Logistics for Tech Companies
Post Sales and Reverse Logistics are critical phases in product lifecycle management, especially in the technology sector. Post Sales solutions include field break/fix or repair and parts inventory management, and reverse logistics includes recycling, disposal, and data wiping, which is an essential step for sensitive equipment such as bank machines that hold private information. The correct execution of the reverse logistics phase is important in the technology lifecycle, as skipping this step would be highly unsafe and could lead to privacy breaches such as stolen credit card or pin information, or other personal information.
From product acquisition to repair, and parts planning to disposal, full product lifecycle management is essential for the technology industry. This critical aspect of logistics enables the optimal “lifetime” of a technical product – continued use and longevity following its intended purpose. Managing all parts of the product through its entire lifecycle ensures the highest efficiency and best experience for SCI’s clients and their customers. This sets them apart in the highly competitive market place, and keeps them on the cutting edge of efficiency and growth.