Building the Mobile Supply Chain

There's an app for that. That's long been the joke amongst smartphone toting consumers. More and more, the same can be said for supply chain management and logistics tasks.

Embracing mobility promises to increase visibility and responsiveness in the supply chain when properly leveraged. For these reasons, businesses are more and more interested in embracing mobile applications. In this year's North American Mobile Enterprise Applications report, Frost & Sullivan reported that companies reporting the use of at least one mobile worker application rose from 73% in 2013 to 82% this year. “Currently, 49 percent of businesses across North America adopt between one and ten applications, indicating a significant acceptance of these solutions,” the report said.

“Satisfaction levels among businesses that have implemented mobile worker applications have risen after previously showing a descending trend,” said Frost & Sullivan Customer Research Analyst Diana Herrera.”Current users cited increased employee productivity and business process efficiencies as key business impacts influencing satisfaction levels.”

For the logistics and supply chain, the benefits are significant. Today, third-party logistics providers face a variety of challenges, according to a report from Open Market titled “Third Party Logistics: A Best Practice Guide to Mobile Engagement.” This list includes:

  • Global distribution of suppliers and employees over multiple continents
  • Increased service expectations from consumers
  • Strong expectations of anytime/anywhere communication on the part of mobile-savvy individuals
  • Increased vulnerability of supply chains to risks ranging from terrorism to cyber attack, as well as natural disasters and severe weather

The infographic below from eft outlines the state of mobile logistics. Has your organization implemented mobile apps into the supply chain? Let us know about your experiences in the comments section below.

— Hailey Lynne McKeefry, Editor in Chief, EBN Circle me on Google+ Follow me on Twitter Visit my LinkedIn page Friend me on Facebook

10 comments on “Building the Mobile Supply Chain

  1. SunitaT
    December 14, 2014

    Mobile networking is enabling supply chains to accomodate to the environment that is constantly changing. I see much improvement of using mobile applications in Help & Support because customers nowadays are smartphone educated and they would find it better to contact customer support by filtering out and selecting different query strings.

  2. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    December 15, 2014

    It was interesting to me that people think that third parties will benefit most from mobile apps, rather than consumers or workforce folks. Do you agree? Where do you see the biggest benefits?

  3. puga2006
    December 16, 2014

    I am not sure how third parties will benefit, here are the areas where we see biggest benefit, 1-video based training – reduce onboarding time 2-video communication – reduce time spent on walking back and forth in big DCs 3-picture based documentation 4- enable supervisors and leads in the respective depts by providing them the data through a mobile device, this will free them up from their desk, currently if someone asks for a data the standard response is I need to go to my desk to get that info

  4. puga2006
    December 16, 2014

    Also please checkout our product – While the rest of the world is facetiming, youtubing, whatsapping with their mobile devices, the warehouse associates are stuck with a 25 year old technology, unleash the productivity of your warehouse associates with In Command wearables. Not only in command wearables contribute directly to the bottom line by saving at least 6% in labor costs, but also make the life of associates so much better due to its light weight. For a warehouse with 75 operators working 2.5 shifts at $15 per hour working 300 days a year save at least $400,000.

  5. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    December 16, 2014

    Great list, puga2006. Thanks for chiming in. The documentation piece is one that I hadn't thought of–and in the supply chain, i could see real usefulness expecially on the loading dock and in the warehouse.

  6. Hailey Lynne McKeefry
    December 16, 2014

    That's pretty signifigant savings. I'll definitely read up on it. Thanks!

  7. t.alex
    December 27, 2014

    This is by far one of my favourite read of all time. Working in logistics field, I hope there will be more apps be buid to help logistics folks can work on their phones. We used phone more than anyone else to get the job done. 

  8. Ashu001
    December 27, 2014


    Logistics is very much a rapidly evolving field.

    I am very sure that as We see more and more Changes(Both Technology as well as Strategic) they will be very quickly implemented even in the Mobile Logistics space.

    As you have rightly pointed out ;Most Logistics folks use their phones more often than anything else to get the job done.

    Because of this I have no doubts that you will continue to see the latest & Greatest Developments first and foremost in this Space.


  9. Ashu001
    December 27, 2014


    At a time when every single Dollar is becoming really precious(as Companies strive to cut costs wherever they can) to survive in today's Recessionary Enviroment;If you can generate $400,000 In Savings all in one Go;you would see immediate traction for your product.

    Only thing that should matter is that the cost of the Product should be of the same order of Magnitude as the Savings you hope to Generate here.


  10. Ashu001
    December 27, 2014


    The very fact that Smartphones generally have smaller screens(than Laptops/Desktops) means that you need to filter and condense whatever information you have into a much-much smaller area.

    The very fact that you are dealing with Less Real Estate means that you will need to put in place Fewer Query strings,Parameters,etc.

    You can't just afford to lose Customers by providing way too much Data on one small screen.

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