Going mobile …. Again

Mobility is redefining supply chain collaboration and even materials handling

By ·

One of the questions that interested me when I did this month’s story on the mobile supply chain is the state of mobility in the supply chain collaboration space.

I had a chance to talk to Young Kim, director of product management in the US for Take Solutions, a supply chain collaboration platform. Turns out mobility is on their minds as well.

“To me, mobile means the ability to do the task wherever the user is located,” Kim told me. “We were driven into that space in recent years because of the reduction in work forces. Many of the people who user our solution and have to make decisions are not tied to a desk.”

Take has added a mobility architecture to its solution so that a mobile worker can receive e-mail and text alerts on a cell phone in an alert queue regarding exceptions or issues that need to be addressed. “Every exception that requires a decision is treated as an object that gets put in a queue,” Kim said. “If you check the application or the queue on a regular basis, you’ll see everything that is awaiting approval.” Meanwhile, Take is adding the ability to take actions, such as approving a solution or making a procurement decision from the phone.

Going into the story, I would have thought of mobility as the domain of supply chain software providers like Take or the traditional WMS and TMS providers. I was surprised to learn that automation providers like Dematic and Intelligrated were also developing mobile apps that are relevant to their solutions. That point was driven home the other day in a press release from Lighting Pick on the release of a mobile pick to light app.

The app is designed for managers and gives them a real-time dashboard of updates on their pick-to-light operations, including pick rates, area overview, order progress and overall facility statistics.

More importantly – and this is increasingly how the analyst community is coming to define a true mobile app – it allows managers to execute operational changes through their phones, such as running work plans, examining order details or box contents or running system diagnostics within a specific area if an error occurs.

As we think about mobility in the future, it’s going to be more than simply accessing information with a mobile phone or tablet through a mobile application. That’s little more than alerting. It’s linking those alerts with the ability to make a decision and execute a response from your mobile device.

That’s clearly where Take is headed, as are solution providers like Lightning Pick.


About the Author

Bob Trebilcock
Bob Trebilcock, editorial director, has covered materials handling, technology, logistics and supply chain topics for nearly 30 years. In addition to Supply Chain Management Review, he is also Executive Editor of Modern Materials Handling. A graduate of Bowling Green State University, Trebilcock lives in Keene, NH. He can be reached at 603-357-0484.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Latest Whitepaper
The Five Point Tune-Up for Your Warehouse
Ready to make your warehouse smarter, stronger - and more profitable in every way?
Download Today!
From the August 2016 Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
5 Emerging Technologies Enabling Competitive Advantage for Distribution
Come hear about the latest in each-picking robotics, co-bots, artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, sensors, drones and droids that are enabling competitive advantage for distribution.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
The data-driven lift truck
Now that manufacturers and distributors are using the data from their automated systems to drive...
Destination Maternity: Destination Automation
Running short of space in its old facility, Destination Maternity Corp. built a new, highly...

Hibbett Sports: Faster, Flexible and Efficient
A high-speed conveyor and sortation system at Hibbett Sports’ Alabama distribution center speeds...
Necessity is the mother of invention at Quiet Logistics
Faced with the loss of a robotic pick solution, Quiet Logistics invented its own robots. Are they...