Logistics Mobility 101: How to Keep Things Moving

Logistics are all about mobility. And though I can understand that no one wants to risk disrupting the decades-old, proven processes of Manufacturing, Transportation, Warehousing and Distribution channels, the fact is that mobility-driven operations from mobile technologies.

Perhaps that’s why “the growing complexity of transportation management is driving more logistics operations to explore mobile options,” and why VDC found the following to be the leading current, or planned, mobile transportation apps:

  • GPS navigation and real-time routing (used by 63 percent of companies)
  • Dispatch management and scheduling (55 percent)
  • Parcel delivery and tracking (55 percent)
  • Proof of delivery (51 percent)
  • Telematics (42 percent)
  • Customer service engagement (39 percent).

In her recent article about supply chain technology, Logistics Magazine Contributing Editor Bridget McCrea noted that it’s outside the four walls of the Warehouse and Distribution Center (DC) where “regulatory burdens, capacity crunches, and driver shortages” may be pressing on logistics operations to explore mobile options and extend the above workflows onto mobile platforms.

Better Logistics with Tablet PCs

But in speaking with industry decision makers, it seems that folks responsible for transportation management are realizing that, in order to mobilize goods, you have to mobilize the processes you’re using to pick, pack, ship, and manage those goods all the way from the manufacturer to the end-user. Mobility – and the need for rugged mobile PCs that can keep operations thriving, and data surviving multiple exchanges of hands and borders – is not exclusive to fleet-based operations. And fragmented processes that rely on unreliable pen and paper methods to capture, process, and share data are not enabling mobility but rather, restricting it.

The Internet has created a new urgency along the entire supply chain to deliver more, faster. And logistics operations have to keep pace as best they can. The reality is that mobile technologies are what will propel them to their best, even though hesitancy is still widespread.

I get it. Why disrupt a logistics process that, though slower, has remained steady and successful for decades?

Because relying on the same unreliable paper-based processing methods you’ve always used is really much riskier than choosing to rely on (the more reliable) rugged tablet PC solutions that drive similar processes for other global industries for more than a decade. There are magnificent opportunities to generate potentially millions of dollars of savings and efficiency gains through business process improvement (BPI) using tablet PCs.

Rugged mobile computers will go where your mobile workers go, keep real-time tabs on the status of goods, extend your workflows inside and outside the four walls, and give new meaning to the “mobilization” of your logistics operations. Not to mention save you time, money, and heartache caused by paper and outdated technology-based processes.

Can you tell me that your current solution checks all those boxes? We’ll find out next week when my colleague Bob Ashenbrenner shares his thoughts about whether moving logistics mobility forward with rugged mobile tablets will be worth the payback.

Read the Logistics Management Article