The transport and logistics industry was particularly enthusiastic about the use of mobile apps in supply chain management the report found ©123RF
The transport and logistics industry was particularly enthusiastic about the use of mobile apps in supply chain management the report found ©123RF

Business apps now 'critical competitive factor'

17 November 2016

Business to business applications are becoming more prevalent and are expected to make up half of total mobile app revenue in 2017. 

In a survey more than half of respondents said they already use business apps and almost nine in 10 see mobile apps as being a critical competitive factor, logistics consultancy AEB said.

In its report Global Trade Management Agenda 2017 AEB said one of the most common uses for mobile tools in business was supply chain management and logistics.

The survey, of 330 global trade and logistics experts, found 64.2% of respondents already used business apps, and 17.6% used them to help manage logistics and supply chains. A further 21.1% said they intended to use apps for supply chain management in the future. Some 10.2% used apps for procurement.

Respondents said they expect mobile apps to give them more flexibility (46.4%), control (46.0%) and transparency (49.9%) over their supply chains.

The report said small firms, with under 200 employees, and large firms, with over 2,000, were the most likely to use mobile apps to manage supply chains, while medium size businesses rarely did.

AEB said the transport and logistics industry was particularly enthusiastic about the use of mobile apps in supply chain management, a trend it attributed to the industry having “mobility as a business concept”.

Upper management and executive leaders across all parts of business were most likely to advocate greater use of mobile apps, and half of upper management respondents said they used business apps on a daily basis.

The report found that age had little correlation to either using or advocating the use of mobile apps and 79.6% of respondents over the age of 50 said they strongly believed in the importance of the technology.

However, some 71.5% did not expect apps to greatly simplify day-to-day business and most did not consider the need for apps to be strongly customer-driven. AEB said it recognised that this “[does] not provide a satisfactory explanation” as to why apps are seen to be so important for competition.

Top uses of apps in supply chain management:

  • Technical information 28.4%
  • Transport control/tip and route evaluation 26.1%
  • Fleet management 20.5%
  • Container management 20.4%
  • Stock management 17.1%
  • Order management 15.9%
  • Calculation of proposals 11.8%
  • Personnel planning 10.2%
  • Loading 10.2%

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