Can You Manage Your Supply Chain on a Smartphone?

27 Jun Can You Manage Your Supply Chain on a Smartphone?

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According to a recent report by KPMG, technology platforms that support real-time business intelligence is one of the top strategies and tactics to be deployed by manufacturers.  The report, entitled Global Manufacturing Outlook 2014: Performance in the crosshairs, is based on a survey of management from 460 large global manufacturing organizations.

While Business Intelligence has been a hot topic among organizations over the past decade, more recently, real-time Business Intelligence has taken a higher priority.  We will not review “why”, but lets review “how”.  Certainly a robust infrastructure needs to be a key priority to mange the data necessary to provide real-time business intelligence.  Analytics is a crucial area as well.  However, the “last mile” to support a real time business intelligence strategy needs to be a mobile capability to provide organizations at all levels the right information at the right time (real time), followed by the ability for individuals who view the information to react.

Right Information.  Decades ago, this information was in the form of written reports whereby everyone received the same report.  In today’s world, the information needs to boil down to very specific Key Performance Indicators specific to the individual.  As an example, if improving product profitability is a key strategic objective supported by real time business intelligence, then KPI’s for the manufacturing team will be different than KPI’s for the procurement team and different than KPI’s for the logistics team.  By “right information”, caution must be taken to avoid information overload.  Rather than offering a deep-dive into KPI’s, a shallow-dive approach may provide enough information to meet the objectives.  Many members of the organization have a role in improving product profitability; lets provide the right information to them.

Real Time.   The right time is real time in today’s world.  In order to impact profitability, the right information needs to be immediately conveyed to the right people immediately. While not all information needs to be acted upon, the information needs to be available, front and center for all members of an organization.   The very tricky issue here is to provide the users the proper information which needs to be in real time.  If an issue can wait till next week, great.  However, what are the relevant measures where the organizational objectives can be met by immediate/real-time exposure?

Reaction.  The right information is now in the hands of the right people in real time, what is the expected outcome?  This is where a mobile capability can truly shine.  A crucial item to think about is to fuse messaging with such KPI’s.  Can collaborative discussions occur via KPI sharing?  This is not as strange as it may sound — social networks today are populated with discussions via photo sharing.  One photo is sent to a group of friends and is discussed. In the business parallel, a KPI can be shared, discussed and more importantly, actions can be taken.

All in all, this is a great report.  As organizations develop approaches to meet real time business intelligence strategies, it is imperative that a mobile strategy be considered.

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