Applications have been a part of modern supply chain management for many years now, and without them, managing logistics in the volume that businesses do today would be impossible. However, the introduction of mobile applications is a relatively new one and it has added a new dimension, aka mobility to everything.
Staying glued behind the desk is no longer a necessity, because the apps we are going to discuss next have made managing a lot of the major aspects of supply chain management possible via mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
Scandit is one of the most well-known names in barcode code scanning for supply chain management apps, and your company could very well already be using it.
It offers a comprehensive package that contains all features to be expected from a barcode scanning software on the go, with some pretty useful bonuses as well. Scandit can essentially convert any smartphone, tablet and even wearables to a commercial barcode scanning tool, that can also download the HD barcode images for labeling purposes. It also has some very useful inventory management tools built-in, which earns it the number one spot on this list.
In case you are looking for a small scale, less expensive logistics app on the go, that doesn’t really sacrifice on any features, Mobile SCM could be the solution you need.
From tracking shipments and deliveries, to inventory management, Mobile SCM is a pretty comprehensive and surprisingly high-value mobile app for supply chain management. It is to be noted though, that just like the rest of the apps on this list, Mobile SCM is not as complete as its desktop version, but that’s why they have a far more inclusive desktop software solution for logistics management.
Well, the name is a dead giveaway and yes, tracking is primarily what TrackVia is used for, by supply chain managers and on-the-road operatives alike. The app and the main software is based on the idea of providing supply chain managers and operatives with a well-rounded, powerful platform for all aspects of supply chain operations, with a focus on workflow management.
The mobile app, when linked to the main desktop application offers an easily customizable platform, but most importantly, it completely negates the need for a separate workflow management app altogether. Instead, TrackVia works on two-way real-time reporting and tracking of the shipments and deliveries on its interactive interface.
Logistimo Plus does much of the same things that are expected from a supply chain management app, such as providing a transparent inventory status with real time updates, for example. However, where Logistimo Plus excels, is in its ability to provide demand forecasts, and consequent inventory restocking suggestions.
The stocking recommendations and restocking suggestions based on those demand forecasts are found to be quite accurate and may often make a big difference in remote areas, where foresight is very important to maintain a steady flow of inventory supplies.
Can Mobile Apps Replace Desktop Supply Chain Management Software Solutions?
Now, this is where a lot of newcomers get confused, so it’s imperative to make it clear that the mobile applications we just discussed can neither replace desktop solutions, nor are they supposed to. To know why that isn’t a viable option, read on.
Most of the Applications Discussed are Extensions of a Main Desktop-Grade Solution
As mentioned in the beginning, the mobile apps are a way for the supply chain managers to be mobile in their operations, but they were never meant to replace full-fledged software solutions at any point.
In fact, most of these apps are actually extensions of their main applications, which can only work to their full capacity on a desktop interface. At the same time, these apps have enough features embedded in them to enable supply chain management on the go, as and when required.
Professional Education in Supply Chain Management Needs a Desktop Interface
Completing a Masters in Logistics and Supply Chain Management essentially opens up a whole range of opportunities for supply chain managers and even operatives. This is a viable option these days, thanks to properly designed and adequately accredited Masters in Logistics and Supply Chain Management programs from institutions like Kettering University being available for 100% online completion these days. It’s the perfect way to complete your graduation and gain experience in the supply chain industry simultaneously.
Keep in mind that much like the supply chain management applications we just discussed, you can continue to keep yourself updated and study online via a smartphone or a tablet as well. Some universities offer a dedicated application, while others have dynamic designs on their website interface to support smart devices. However, in order to fully utilize all the facilities of such a program, a desktop interface will be necessary, similar to how it is with the supply chain management applications themselves.
Why Mobile Applications are Not Completely Replacing Desktop Software Solutions
Unlike how it is in the consumer section, enterprise-grade software is a lot more demanding than what a mobile device such as a smartphone or a tablet can handle.
Even if something like a Windows tablet is powerful enough to crunch the numbers, the added advantage of having a bigger screen, a mouse and a keyboard becomes profound, where big business operations are concerned. It’s just easier to see and work with full-fledged computers for an extended amount of time, than it is to do so on a small screen and limited accessibility options of a mobile device.
Finally, there is also the cost-effective nature of computers to take into account. A significantly more powerful office PC costs a fraction of what a premium mobile device would cost, even when bought in bulk. Mobility comes at the cost of reduced accessibility and features, which is fine up to an extent, but is far too great at this point to consider them as replacements for powerful, enterprise-grade desktop applications that are currently being used in supply chain management and inventory management.