September 2012 | Sponsored | Thought Leaders

Collaborative Visibility for Optimum Efficiency and User Experience

Tags: Logistics I.T.

John Reichert is WMS Product Marketing Manager, TECSYS Inc., 800-922-8649

Q: Why is collaborative visibility important?

A: Supply chains have become extremely complex and fluid. The number and variety of products has exploded, lifecycles have shrunk, and interdependencies between organizations are at an all-time high. Natural disasters such as Japan's tsunami in March 2011 showed that a major global event can have a far-reaching impact on supply chains.

To move ahead of competitors, it is critical that organizations collaborate using electronic, real-time information sharing, merged from multiple partners in a single actionable environment. Collaborative visibility is the way forward.

Q: How can businesses achieve real-time collaborative visibility?

A: Collaboration is evolving from exchanging to sharing information on demand, delivered through technology that consolidates information from multiple systems and trading partners into simple, operational, transactional views that are shared and accessed securely.

Organizations seek platforms designed to merge internal and external information into transactional systems with a view across their supply chain execution system. Jumping between dissimilar applications, or working with outdated text-based systems will no longer be acceptable. The new generation expects graphical, intuitive, relevant information in real time.

Q: What makes visualization "actionable"?

A: The days of verifying comments on picklists every hour are long gone. Today, through visualization, interactive dashboards pulling data from various sources support executive decisions that reach to the operator level, drawing immediate attention to problems, exceptions, and opportunity areas. Visualization tools, such as intuitive visual indicators, will become the standard used for everyday warehouse transactions—from receiving to shipping.

Q: How will innovators use collaborative visibility to achieve competitive advantage?

A: Collaborative visibility will transform front-line workers' tasks from simple, repetitive processes to more complex, exception-based execution to achieve optimum accuracy and fill rate, which positively impacts customer satisfaction and the bottom line. Imagine rugged, android-like technology that alerts packers to product damage; allows receiving operators to update manufacturer inspection guidelines with one click; and notifies shipping clerks of pickup delays, then automatically presents alternate shipping options.

None of this could be accomplished without a collaborative platform for complete, real-time visibility with dynamic visualization across the supply chain. This is the future frontier: taking some key tools from the executive suite, and empowering warehouse forklift operators with innovations that matter.