Mobility solutions - shaping the supply chain of the future

1. Common problems in supply chain management

Logistics managers are constantly looking to solve a unique set of challenges that threaten to disrupt the flow of their supply chains. Any disruption in the supply chain, however minor, can cause product shipments and other warehouse operations to come to a halt.

Disruptions to orders and product shipments the could potentially lead to suppliers preventing customers from developing or manufacturing new product lines if they fail to deliver items needed for the design or production processes.

Meeting the demands of the customer

Organisations must deal with more orders and an increasing number of SKUs and product ranges in order to meet consumer demand. This, in turn, leads to more returns processing, which again is put under increasing pressure as consumer expectations affect delivery timelines. Next day is now becoming not fast enough and organisations are being continually squeezed to reduce order processing and delivery timeframes.

An ever more diverse range of delivery options, from lockers through to store to home, means that logistics management must evolve in order to ensure that the customer does not receive late, incorrect or damaged orders. In the fast-paced world of e-commerce, the choices available to the customer are seemingly endless; therefore there is no tolerance for an organisation that does not deliver on its promises.

To meet these promises and provide brands with protection from theft and fraud, real-time tracking and traceability in the supply chain has never been so important. Added to this the peaks and troughs of an ever-more demanding marketplace means that a flexible workforce and tight inventory management are crucial for managing the increasingly volatile forces that the modern supply chain must withstand.

These forces, added to increased transportation, labour and warehousing costs, mean that warehouse operations must adapt quickly, and be prepared to continuously adapt, in order to streamline processes, improve efficiency and reduce costs to the customer.

Cultural differences or changes

When companies expand into new markets, they usually face a number of logistics and supply chain management obstacles. An organisation that works with third-party vendors and suppliers has to adhere to a number of legal processes and business procedures, and respect cultural norms. In addition, they may be required to work a different set of hours, which could change how fast products are shipped and delivered.

It is not easy to adjust to cultural changes, but mobile data collection software can help logistics managers easily update their SAP resource planning solutions in real-time, to enable them to keep track of shipping times. Mobile software ensures managers are always able to view and analyse the most accurate, up-to-date sets of data, which allows them to make well-informed high-level business decisions about their supply chain operations.

By using mobile data collection software, logistics planners can analyse tracked data without delay and, coupled with a robust SAP system, they can amend logistics arrangements to improve supply chain efficiency or dedicate more resources to help identified locations increase productivity and efficiency.

The evolving warehouse environment

Warehouse location and environment also has a massive impact on an organisations supply chain. Location decisions are driven by the need for closer proximity to customers, in order to meet expectations for ever-tighter delivery windows, whilst also reducing transport costs.

Whilst warehousing costs varying enormously from region to region, companies must plan their logistics based on transportation costs and links, as well as storage capacity, access to labour and an increased focus on sustainability.

Whether goods are inbound or outbound, the efficient movement of trailers is essential to business performance. The rapid and dynamic nature of the logistics industry is forcing many organisations to limit their investment in infrastructure, meaning that warehouse technology must provide a payback within the shortest time possible.

Empowering employees with the right tools to handle increases in throughput and navigate the changing warehouse space will enable organisations to operate efficiently and meet the challenges of the future.

Poor workforce collaboration

More than ever before, employees are under pressure to adapt quickly to ever-changing business environments. Workers must be able to collaborate with suppliers around the world - many of whom operate much differently than they do - and they must know how to work well with their own colleagues.

This often leads companies to look for well-rounded employees who have a range of skills that can improve collaboration and enhance workflow. Finding and retaining employees who possess all of these qualities can be expensive, but having the right mobility solution within a SAP supply chain can actually help companies employ and retain highly skilled workers. There are a number of reasons for this:

  Reduced supply chain management costs – Lowering operational costs can help companies employ more qualified workers. This can improve internal and external collaboration among employees because these experienced professionals should be able to work more efficiently with their international colleagues or business partners, which in turn will help to speed up supply chain processes.

  Improved collaboration – Mobile supply chain management software helps to eradicate damaging office silos that interrupt the flow and exchange of information from a company to its suppliers. Automated data collection tools ensure employees across the business or indeed, all over the world, have access to the same data points. Mobile supply chain management software acts as a common language, which helps operational processes run smoother.

Workforce collaboration is the driving force behind any company and mobile supply chain solutions can cut down on costs and also ensures employees have access to the same real-time data, which ultimately improves supply chain processes.

2. Mobility for the SAP supply chain

From real-time goods tracking to routing assistance, bringing mobility to the warehouse is gaining ground as organisations grapple with fast order fulfillment, smaller order sizes, and ever- evolving customer expectations.

In return for an investment in mobile technology tech, companies are gaining benefits like shortened lead times, improved supply chain visibility, error reductions, optimised transportation networks and better inventory management. These advantages are helping companies work smarter and more efficiently in today’s fast-paced business world.

Mobile technologies are also helping companies improve communication within their transportation networks and more accurately measure the productivity and efficiency within those networks.

As well as dramatically improving productivity, providing better resource utilisation and increasing efficiency, mobility in the warehouse also offers a whole host of other benefits that impact on productivity and enhance user experience.

The key benefits include:

  Faster responses to business needs

  Enhanced user experience

  Improved customer satisfaction

  User productivity is improved by streamlining key processes

Mobile solutions can help fuel business growth and increase profitability, allowing users to deal with more work in less time.

The Config Team has been providing SAP solutions for over 20 years and the Movilizer apps, which they build the mobility in the warehouse solutions around, are designed and built using years of expertise and knowledge in SAP logistics, which is provided by the functional and technical consultants within the team.

3. The benefits of Movilizer

Movilizer from The Config Team lets you perform day-to-day stock management and manufacturing tasks, through hand-held mobile devices that integrate directly with SAP.

Movilizer is a leading Global Mobile Enterprise Application Platform (MEAP), a Honeywell company that empowers businesses to realise their digital transformation and deploy agile strategies.

Honeywell Movilizer

The Config Team develop solutions using the Movilizer platform as it delivers all the functionality needed for a fully integrated, end-to-end warehouse logistics solution, (including 3PLs) in a way that is easy for the operator to use. Movilizer is simple and intuitive, and is the ideal solution for rapid barcode scanning and data entry.

Providing real-time access to SAP functions in a very simple user interface, the benefits of Movilizer in the warehouse are significant and include:

  Increasing productivity – Mobile handsets increase productivity by reducing the time users need to move from station to station.

  Monitoring performance, any time, anywhere – Instead of walking to a computer terminal to enter information, users can enter it instantly wherever they are.

  Decreasing date delays – Connected mobile devices do not waste time duplicating other’s efforts. Users have instant access to updated order status information and other information, for fast, accurate answers.

  Providing real-time information – Real-time insights provide users with accurate inventory and order status information. There are no delays when answering custom queries, as users will always know if items are in stock.

  Answering customer questions – Real-time data ensures that, no matter where users are in the warehouse, what they see on the system is the same as everyone else in the company sees. Therefore, they can answer questions promptly and with confidence.

  Preventing wasted time – Providing users with helpful access to real-time statistics regarding the warehouse’s overall productivity prevents time being wasted whilst moving from bin to bin

  Making job completion easier – Users can complete more jobs, easier and faster, as there is very little or even no data to enter manually. The less manual data entry there is, the better.

  Finding inventory fast – Locate bins, shelves, and other inventory locations quickly and easily. Users can save time searching for items and storage space, by accessing the information they need, when they need it.

  Faster picking, packing and shipping – When users know where inventory is located, they can pick, pack and ship faster. Less time wasted means more time to fulfill orders.

  Avoiding data gaps – Movilizer solutions help your warehouse run efficiently and seamlessly connect with your ERP to help your front and back offices view and access necessary, up-to-date information with no missing or delayed data.

  Fuelling business growth and profitability – More work in less time fuels business growth and profitability. With the right data solutions and warehouse management options, your entire workforce can work faster and smarter, rather than harder, to increase profits.

Using the power of SAP mobile solutions, Movilizer improves capacity planning, provides real-time, accurate stock information, reduces operating costs and helps to fuel sales increases. This means you’ll always have your finger firmly on the pulse of your business.

To find out how Movilizer can benefit your organisation get in touch today and we’ll be delighted to show you a demo.

To chat about how our apps could benefit you, give Nigel a call on (+44) 7494 263 101.