A technology-powered supply chain used to be a bonus intended only for larger enterprises. However, the complexity of the prevailing market conditions and developments in IT have forced the large as well as small- and mid-sized businesses to jump on the bandwagon.
As every industry is forced to re-evaluate its existing business practices in the current scenario, shipping companies are slowly realizing the significance of a digitized supply chain. In fact, proper planning and implementation of automated processes is needed to handle the complexities of supply chains and the increasing demands of e-commerce. As per a report from Gartner, the expenditure for optimizing supply chains by means of software had hit $13 billion approximately in 2017, projecting an increase of about 11% Year-Over-Year (YOY).
A supply chain driven by technology helps to boost end-to-end visibility and ensure proper control over the goods, which includes handling the purchase orders, to shipping those to the final destination. Further, a well-optimized supply chain also helps in minimizing costs while maximizing efficiency in the processes concerned. The small and mid-sized businesses can also make the most of these technological advancements in the instances of rising customer expectations and uncertain trade patterns.
The technical issues concerned with logistics are a major hindrance to the smooth functioning of small and mid-sized supply chains. In fact, there may exist an underlying cause for these issues, which could possibly have been evaded.
Here we will examine some of the common IT problems which occur in the logistics segment.
• Issues Related to Printing and Scanning
The logistics department may have to take print outs of shipping labels and scan documents hastily. The issues in this field can have a negative impact on productivity. Mostly, the print or scan issues are caused due to poor connectivity, failure in detecting the printer available in the network, time consumption of the scanned documents, and the like. All these issues occur due to poor planning, absence of a standard system for printers and scanners, and lack of proper management of the printing infrastructure.
Many companies fail to deploy a reliable printing and scanning infrastructure. Further, you should follow certain standards in printers and scanners in terms of naming conventions, models, deployment methods, printing software, etc. Also, you are required to integrate the whole printer and scanner operations in the best manner possible
• Implementing Inappropriate Wireless Solutions in the Warehouse
Very often, there is a lack of proper planning while implementing wireless solutions in the warehouse. In fact, the challenges pertaining to logistics management are often overlooked, resulting in the malfunctioning of the network. Further, aiming to cut costs, many companies often choose wireless solutions which are a mismatch for the concerned warehouse environment like incompatible devices, used equipment, etc.
• Problems in WMS and TMS
In the supply chain business domain, the Warehouse Management System (WMS) and Transportation Management System (TMS) play critical roles. However, the potential of these systems is often underestimated. As a result, many problems occur owing to system instability, inadequate software, low-quality database systems, etc.
• Poor Technology Management
The lack of a proper technology management system may lead to serious technology and security issues. Some of the problems arising out of this situation include unexpected downtime, which brings business to a halt and poorly maintained IT operational data history, leading to uninformed decision-making.
• Poorly Maintained IT Infrastructure
Normally, an IT infrastructure includes network devices, software, servers, computers, etc. which form an integral part of the business in the technical sense. This system is responsible for processing data and sharing it in the form of emails, sales quotes, bills, and so on. If this component fails to function properly, it affects productivity, leading to dissatisfaction among the customers. The common reasons for this malfunctioning includes poorly designed infrastructure, non-standard software and hardware solutions, etc.
In general, small and mid-sized supply chains can add more value through the combination of a strong logistics base and robust IT infrastructure.
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