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4 New Year’s Supply Chain Resolutions: Smartphones, Analytics, Ergonomics, Environment

2017 is a new year that offers opportunities to adopt the latest supply chain technologies and strategies. Are you going to embrace these opportunities for improvement and advancement, or just keep following the same old supply chain roadmap? Whenever the calendar year flips over, it’s a good time to think about taking a new approach. This year is no exception.

For example, there are a lot of exciting new supply chain developments in the areas of smartphones, analytics, ergonomics, and the environment. Now is a good time for supply chain professionals to set some New Year’s resolutions that are related to adopting them.

Smartphones

Paired with the right software, mobile devices such as smartphones can replace a number of dedicated devices in the supply chain such as barcode scanners or GPS units. Smartphones provide a single hardware solution that offers increased functionality with lower total cost of ownership over time.

There’s no reason to be scared of using smartphones in the supply chain to enhance critical workflows such as data capture, order entry or inventory management. Companies that implement smartphones in their supply chains will become more efficient and indispensable to their partners. With a wealth of insights readily available from mobile data, enterprises leveraging this information can get ahead of the competition and increase the value of their partnerships.

Analytics

Do you really know how your supply chain is performing? Gathering and analyzing data to understand and improve supply chain performance shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should be a part of the DNA of your business operations. After all, you can’t know what to fix if you don’t know what’s broken.

It’s likely that various devices such as smartphones and tablets in your supply chain are already compiling useful data. But it’s up to you to put a strategy in place that brings all of that data together and makes sense of it. A better understanding of real-time supply chain trends and customer behavior can make way for predictive analytics and more informed decision-making.

Ergonomics

The items being moved around in the supply chain are important. However, the well-being of the associates who are moving them is much more important. Are you focused on ergonomics, which can have a long-lasting impact on employee health and job satisfaction? 

By creating a more physically supportive work environment, you will increase employee productivity while decreasing time lost to injury. You will also improve retention and help attract the next generation of supply chain employees by gaining a reputation for humane working conditions.

The environment

No matter where you turn, you’ll hear about new ways that companies are “going green.” Buzz words aside, environmental responsibility is an important trend that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

The process of creating products and getting them to their destination can generate a lot of environmental waste. This is true whether you’re dealing with assembly lines, warehouses, delivery trucks, or any other aspect of the supply chain. So always ask yourself what you can do both short-term and long-term to decrease your negative impact on the environment. For example, embracing mobility and eliminating paper-based processes could be a great first start to engaging in greater environmental responsibility in your enterprise.

Those are just four New Year’s supply chain resolutions that you could make—you may also have others. Certainly, it can be overwhelming to try and work on multiple resolutions all at once. That’s why it’s important to gradually roll supply chain resolutions out over the course of the year.

If you focused on just one of these suggested resolutions during each quarter, you would accomplish a lot in one year. You should start soon, though. You will undoubtedly have even more supply chain resolutions to make when 2018 comes around.

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