Technology has become a need to have an edge over the competitors and enhance productivity and efficiency of a logistics system. Rapidly growing technology with thousands of innovative ideas and solutions has made the task easier, faster and less laborious.
There are various technologies used in logistics and supply chain management and have segregated into information technology, communication technology and automatic identification technology.
Automatic Identification Technology
Automatic Identification (Auto ID) includes the direct entry of data or information in the computer system, programmable logic controllers or any microprocessor-controlled device without operating a keyboard. Auto ID can be used for tracking the delivered packages or a truck carrying the goods. Auto ID also offers accuracy, savings, speed and convenience of data storage and processing of information.
From Bar Coding to Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Voice Recognition, everything comes under this technology. Let’s take the example of Bar Coding and discuss how Auto ID has impacted logistics system. We all have seen the parallel lines with white space between on almost every product we buy.These bars are nothing but the items of information in the codified form, which can be read with the help of a scanner and has the information like country code, manufacturer name, product details, date of manufacture embedded in it.
These details are required at user end for inventory management and reduces human err while giving the speed, accuracy, and reliability.
You must be wondering what contribution can a puny barcode can make to logistics? The information in barcode helps in identifying and tracking the component and helps real-time update of inventory records. The same information further helps in processing, production and distribution operations. Automatic Identification thus helps in reducing human err, paper work and processing time. All of that while offering accuracy, and reliability.
Another example is RFID ( Radio Frequency Identification) which helps in management, complex distribution and tracking. It also improves the logistics planning operations.
The communication plays a very crucial role in business success. Let’s have a look at how communication technology impacts the logistics and drives superior customer service, speed and accuracy.
●Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) – All the business documents are transferred from one computer to another with the help of this technology. That’s right! The invoices or cheques sent electronically from one organization to another is sent through the EDI. Needless to say, it results in faster transactions and better corporate trading relationships. It also reduce transaction time and saves time.
● Geographical positioning System (GPS) – The accurate system which locates the the help of Geo Stationary Satellites to the accuracy of one meter to make the location available for consignee through the transmission network i.e. mobile phones or internet.
● Web Based Tracking– This technology offers the status report of the consignment to their clients. The clients can easily download this report.
To capture, analyse and provide information wherever needed , is what Information Technology do.
IT offers the much needed transparency in the supply chain and makes the network between the different organisations. With the advent of IT planning approach came collaborative planning, forecasting and replenishment(CPRF) which involves long-term commitment to information sharing for collaborative planning purposes. The web-based collaboration delivers excellent customer service and scheduling has become easier. In the initial period, logistics was more manual and there was almost no visibility of the movement of goods but with GPS and RFID, complete information and power is given to the customer. Also, IT has made customer service less time-consuming and more proactive.
Technology has become essential for good service. It has become a vehicle to have an edge over the competition and drive efficiency and effectiveness in the company.