16 October 2003 | Liam O'Brien
Supply managers can deliver much greater cost savings from mobile data than they do at the moment, according to Danny Bagge, product director at mobile system specialist RangeGate.
Companies use mobile communication devices to feed data up the supply chain from the shop floor to the server, he said.
But the people on the shop floor are not getting information from the server, which means companies are missing out on massive efficiency savings.
"Firms are using RF [radio frequency] scanners in the warehouse, but only a small minority are asking what more they can do with the technology. It is not just about scanning products. While a worker is scanning baked bean cans on a shelf, you can tell them that the plum tomatoes nearby also need scanning."
RangeGate's technology works by gathering information across an enterprise to direct shopfloor workers. Bagge said this information flow gives companies fast, visible supply chains and optimises product movement.
"It gives companies the ability to have automated systems that push information to the worker to ensure he or she does what is most needed, resulting in dramatic efficiency gains," he added.
Stuart Ainsworth, a member of the CIPS e-commerce group and an operations management consultant with DEE Consulting, said: "This follows on from just-in-time and lean enterprise.
"When the position of an employee is known, why not get them to do tasks in the vicinity that greatly improve productivity and help customers," he added.