April 13, 2016

“Mobile First” is the Future of Supply Chain Risk Management

Neil Shenoi

3_screen_mobile.pngFor most enterprise business applications, the addition of mobile interfaces has facilitated data access and accelerated workflow. For some business applications, mobility is transforming the business process and creating new capability rather than simply extending the application UI to handheld devices. This is the case with cloud applications for supply chain risk management (SCRM) and resiliency.

Mobility is having a transformative effect on the SCRM process due to the immediacy of time-sensitive data delivery -- such as key decision-support information including impacted suppliers and sites and revenue at risk -- and ability to collaborate and take immediate action.

“Supply chain risk management is an ideal application for mobile technology due to the time sensitivity in accessing information about unfolding events that may impact your supply chain globally, as well as the need to take rapid and decisive action,” according to Yossi Sheffi, professor and director of the Center for Transportation and Logistics at MIT and author of The Power of Resilience (2015).

Also, due to its intrinsic ease of use, mobile SCRM attracts a new user class, namely executives -- who rarely login to enterprise applications from their laptop or desktop devices. Direct executive engagement can transform the process by eliminating escalations and streamlining decision making.

The Mobile App from Resilinc, for example, provides instant access to Dashboards that calculate aggregate supply chain risk on a scale of 1-10 at any moment in time, the status of relevant events in progress, and top 10 riskiest product categories and suppliers. The Event function allows executives to filter events by notification date and severity and drill-down to get potential impact details such as revenue at risk.


With this type of intelligence at your fingertips, executive sponsors and champions are more likely to appreciate the full value of their SCRM initiative investment. Day-to-day supply chain risks and vulnerabilities are no longer out of sight and therefore out of mind. Combined with the ability to be more engaged in the risk identification, prioritization and mitigation process through mobile triggered information access and workflow, Mobile will further transform the SCRM process as we know it today.

People also tend to overlook the obvious differences between smart phones and more traditional enterprise application access points like tablets and PCs. Smart phones are of course phones and now remarkable cameras and this make things like accessing emergency contact personnel and sharing pictures of flood, fire and other impactful events, a very natural and immediate part of the process.”

Lou Ferretti, Project Executive at IBM summarized the transformative impact of mobile capabilities on SCRM this way:

“We see mobile apps and solutions with a mobile-first mentality as the way of the future for SCRM practitioners and enterprise resiliency initiatives. We need to respond instantly to potential disruptions to our supply chain continuity. Mobility will be the key to making sure resiliency remains a competitive advantage for us.”

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Topics: supply chain visibility, supply chain resiliency, supply chain risk management