Is key data from your business systems easily shared with your supply chain partners, and vice versa?
Does your supply chain operate as an end-to-end digital ecosystem with an exchange of accurate real-time information between systems; enabling greater shared efficiencies, trust and collaboration?
If not – but you want the synergistic rewards made possible by exchanging intelligence with your supply chain partners – we’ll outline the technology to connect your systems and make this happen.
Why share information?
Thanks to increasing globalisation and customer demands, supply chains are longer and more elaborate than ever before.
While the gap between downstream supply chain activities and upstream business results is widening; the sharing of accurate real-time information end to end with supply chain partners helps compensate this by enhancing business visibility.
In fact, knowing exactly how your business activities interconnect, strengthens supply chain partner relationships. Which results in more opportunities to collaborate, maximise productivity and win more business.
A bridge across systems
Digital solutions and specific technologies make sharing supply chain information easy. A cost-effective delivery solution, that bridges diverse supply chain systems, would enable greater interoperability and real-time data exchange; creating an ecosystem of well-connected, collaborative supply chain partnerships.
Ideally, this would allow all systems, from international companies to single truck operators, to talk to each other; extracting and sharing valuable data in a standardised way. And, therefore, enabling fluid supply chain data visibility for next steps, such as invoicing, accounts payable, driver payments, contractor payments, HR management, performance measurements and so on.
Let’s review the technology features of a digital system that connects supply chain partners with valuable actionable information…
Gathering supply chain information
First, Internet of Things (IoT) devices that gather and transmit data into your digital system are fundamental. These are typical sensing and tracking devices that detect accurate physical characteristics about a product you’re moving through your supply chain.
For example, a pallet RFID tag is detected by an RFID reader as a unit load of known quantity is moved out of a warehouse; a GPS vehicle telematics device creates real-time location data for freight items in a delivery vehicle; a temperature sensor with a perishable product indicates the temperature conditions the product goes through during transport; a customer-signed digital POD on a smartphone signals a successful delivery, and so on.
Collating data about your freight products is the core information handled by your digital supply chain solution. Such an IoT system receives huge volumes of continuous data that provides insight for managing entire operations.
Further, advanced technologies transmit abundant real-time data to your digital system about how a process is being performed. For example, vehicle telematics devices, gather detailed information on how a vehicle is used in relation to how the driver behaves.
Unfortunately, the danger is that some businesses assume the data gathered from these devices is sufficient to manage deliveries effectively from end to end. While this could be true for businesses who dominate a supply chain or who have a short supply chain (i.e. minimal delivery steps), it imposes limits on what can be achieved in collaboration with the compatible systems of your supply chain partners.
Sharing and analysing delivery data
Second, we need to share real-time data from your frontline sensing devices to the connected backend business systems of your organisation and your various supply chain partners.
Specifically, Cloud technology delivers computing services via the internet. The ‘cloud’ allows your gathered data to be securely stored, shared, analysed and monitored in real time. In addition, smart IoT appliances connect to the internet constantly and seamlessly gather explicit data that can be rapidly exchanged with linked supply chain systems.
In combination, Cloud and IoT technologies use the internet to securely connect computing services with physical data-collecting devices. The connectivity of many devices and systems is key, enabling the continuous communication and exchange of data in real time.
A cloud-based delivery solution, such as Leopard’s Delivery Cloud – that automatically gathers and analyses supply chain data from sensing devices, in real time, and exchanges data with your supply chain partners’ systems – would be ideal.
A standard way to exchange information
Third, adopting industry standards as bridging protocols for exchanging data across varied systems promotes collaboration between supply chain partners. This enables rapid communications and responses to supply chain challenges faced by multiple partners.
A standardised method makes it easier for diverse systems to communicate goods and freight information to other supply chain partners who have systems with the compatibility to accept and understand your information.
GS1’s global industry-wide standards for exchanging supply chain information allow diverse systems to share data. GS1 Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) Standards enable accurate data to rapidly exchange between compatible systems of discrete supply chain partners and numerous back-end systems. In effect, the various systems ‘speak’ the same language, doing away with expensive proprietary closed systems at odds with collaboration. In addition, GS1 Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) Standard is the industry-wide data language for communicating supply chain visibility ‘events’.
When communication is clear, confidence builds and visibility increases, making information flow better to all members of the supply chain. Trust is established between supply chain members, leading to faster collaborative decision-making, and pursuing new business opportunities based on real strategic advantages rather than inadequate approximations.
In addition to seamless data exchange messaging between linked mobility and business systems, voice technologies, that keep everyone informed and on task, can be invaluable.
Cloud-based push-to-talk applications allow instant two-way messaging and open communication channels between field personnel and other parties. Operators can transmit voice, from hands-free environments, or text messages through to a web-based portal for management to act on in mission-critical situations or to improve workflows in real time
Enterprises that take advantage of voice-enabled technology as part of their greater digital ecosystem’s data flow, further enhance the quality of their supply chain collaborations and business results.
Need an agile industry-proven solution that unites your mobility system with those of your supply chain partners?
Leopard’s Delivery Cloud solution, part of the Leopard mobility suite, is a cost-effective enterprise mobility solution for any supply chain partner needing to participate in your supply chain’s digital ecosystem. You simply subscribe your operators to the cloud-based solution.
Furthermore, Leopard Delivery Cloud can be expanded to a fully integrated delivery and supply chain solution that:
- Gathers all types of data from many types of sensing devices (including telematics),
- Shares and analyses data with designated linked business systems
- Uses global standards for exchanging data
- Harnesses voice communications.
In suitable consultation, either with Leopard analysts or your team using the specific API, Leopard Delivery Cloud can exchange critical data with backend business systems across your supply chain partners.
Ultimately, an extensive range of systems can be linked to exchange information depending on what you need to enhance your supply chain operations and partnerships.
To summarise, a holistic digital solution that maximises supply chain partnerships will:
- improve visibility putting you in control to make better decisions and solve problems
- increase productivity when you streamline processes and eliminate redundant workflows
- reduce costs by minimising errors and disruptions, and proactively managing risks
- enhance your customer experience and loyalty by providing a personalised delivery experience that’s better than your competition and delights your customers
- win new business from new opportunities revealed by your trusted supply chain partnerships.
Why not give Leopard a go?
You’ve got nothing to lose and supply chain efficiencies to gain. Get in touch today to discuss your supply chain needs. Plus we’ll happily put you in touch with some of our clients so you can hear their stories and find out if a similar Leopard enterprise mobility solution could work for you.