Supply Chain Trends

I recently read the Intermec white paper Top Ten Supply Chain Technology Trends and I wanted to share some of their findings with you.  According to Intermec, the top ten trends and technologies changing the supply chain are:

1. Comprehensive connectivity- 802.11 wireless LAN, Bluetooth, cellular networks

2. Voice and GPS integrated into rugged computers

3. Speech recognition

4. Digital imaging

5. Portable printing

6. 2D and other barcode advances

7. RFID

8. RTLS

9. Remote management

10. Wireless and device security

Today we’re going to take a look at how the first five trends/technologies are affecting the supply chain and tomorrow we’ll finish up with the last five.

Connectivity-combining multiple forms of wireless connectivity technologies into one device is providing mobile workers with increased convenience and functionality.

Voice and GPS– converging data and voice into one device cuts down on the number of devices that need to be supported, providing operating cost savings.  Similarly, the integration of GPS into mobile computers is just one more additional feature that can be added so that one device can do it all.  For example, the Intermec CN3 and CN3e pictured at left, include wide-area wireless voice and data, 802.11, Bluetooth and GPS connectivity.

Speech Recognition– now speech recognition can be easily embedded into numerous legacy software packages.  This allows hands-free data entry and increased productivity because your workers aren’t stuck staring at a computer screen.

Digital Imaging– capturing images with digital cameras integrated into mobile computers allows mobile workers to capture proof of delivery, proof of service, record damage and more.

Portable Printing– mobile printing provides labor savings and increases productivity by saving your workers a trip to a central location to print something.  Combining mobile printers and mobile computers allows your workers to print delivery receipts, purchase orders, work orders and inspection reports on-the-go.  In fact, according to Intermec, mobile printing is one of the fastest-growing segments in the printing industry.

Visit me tomorrow to find out how the last five trends/technologies can help make your supply chain successful.