As industrial engineers and managers increasingly rely on their mobile phones, the absence of work-life balance would be an issue. Much like the email that hounds workers even at the wee hours of the morning, mobile IT visibility platforms would require managers to be on top of everything that goes on in the supply chain even when they are away from the office. Another issue is privacy: supply chain mobile GPS gives companies the power to track company vehicles, and in effect an employee's whereabouts, to determine the best routes. Employees may perceive this as an invasion of privacy.
Supply chain managers' reliance on smartphones will increase in the coming years. In fact, to meet the need for reliable Internet connection, companies are planning to put Wi-Fi hubs in warehouses and even delivery trucks. The advent of voice personal assistants (for example, Apple iOS' Siri) may open mobile visibility platforms to even greater possibilities. In the face of such developments, companies' IT departments have to ensure that these mobile phones are protected from unauthorised use when they are lost or stolen.
What started as a gadget for the younger crowd, the smartphone has evolved into the go-to equipment of professionals from all age brackets. Companies should take advantage of this by investing in SCM management platforms that would give employees the ability to keep track of what they want, wherever they need be. It would lead to greater productivity and less errors, and ultimately, better service for clients.
Thomas Halliday is General Manager at AEB (Asia Pacific).
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