Mobile’s impact on our everyday lives has been profound; less recognized, though, is how much it has revolutionized today’s leading enterprises. Specifically, if we take a deeper look at mobile’s impact on the supply chain, we’re able to truly appreciate its bottom-line value. This article will explore how mobile technologies have increased the velocity of business, improved the environmental impact of commerce and shifted business models to better accommodate customer needs and satisfaction.

Supply chains of all shapes and sizes have leveraged mobile technology since the 1990s, but the industry is finally experiencing a tipping point where mobile’s impact is driving profound ROI. Advanced devices, ubiquitous mobile broadband and fully integrated business-class applications are streamlining pick-up and delivery, route management and field sales. Taking a closer look at mobile’s impact, each step of the delivery lifecycle has evolved by making the supply chain more intelligent, flexible and predictable.

Route Optimization and Management

With new mobile technologies, logistics leaders are able to better optimize routes to take into consideration real-time traffic and weather conditions. Truck fleets once dependent on dedicated GPS devices are now able to leverage an added layer of data and analytics to improve navigation. Less idling in traffic and improvements in on-time delivery not only helps the environment but also streamlines operations. Once on-site at the customer, orders can be scanned and captured via mobile device cameras to improve the accuracy of shipments, inform accounts payable and update inventory. With a mobile-optimized route, delivery vehicles can ensure each load they haul is as full as possible, which cuts down on repeat trips, decreases fuel and payroll costs and ultimately produces a ROI-driving lean supply chain.

Apps and Analytics

Smart, mobile devices that can also come in hardened configurations are also revolutionizing the relationship between customer and delivery personnel. Thanks to apps, the cloud, analytics engines and the back office systems to integrate these assets, every touch point with customers can yield not only better and more personalized service, but additional sales opportunities.

With a fully integrated, mobile-enhanced supply chain, field personnel play a more vital role in a company’s success – especially in a business climate where smaller organizations are competing against the likes of e-giants like Amazon. Using today’s affordable and user-friendly mobile devices, businesses can track current inventory levels and push sales offers to field personnel in real time, so that the customer is not only receiving personalized service but also special offers instantly. With that value add, the delivery team can supplement the sales team, making the entire supply chain a strategic business advantage.

Making it Work

Equipping your supply chain with mobile devices is no longer a tech luxury only the largest brands can afford; indeed, for small and mid-market businesses, the ROI benefits that your company will enjoy from implementing a strong mobile strategy will be immediate and tangible. Of course, adoption does take commitment, as these devices are only at their most valuable if your organization – up and down the whole supply chain – buys into your mobile approach. Once your teams are on board, ROI will be realized quickly in a number of ways:

  • Customers will experience better service and can take advantage of real-time offers.
  • The supply chain will be leaner and greener, both of which will deliver hard cost savings.
  • Field personnel will feel empowered as a strategic asset supporting the business.
  • Inventory and payables will be more accurate to reduce shrinkage with improved cash flow.

Mobile supply chain strategies are not just the way of the future – for companies that want to streamline operations, provide great customer service and bourgeon their ROI, mobile tech can provide a competitive edge today. How long can you wait to take the plunge?