Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Logistics Industry Embraces Cloud-Based IT Systems

For years, visibility within one’s supply chain was elusive for many companies. However, as supply chains become more complex reaching remote areas of the world, expansion of suppliers and changes in regulations and trade requirements, the need for not only visibility, but real-time visibility is becoming a requirement. For example, in a recent blog post, “Pharmaceutical Supply Chains Move Towards Cloud Computing” the pharmaceutical supply chain has become very complicated as it expands into new geographies, encompasses additional suppliers and the need to monitor, manage and respond quickly is necessary. As such, many pharmaceutical manufacturers are adopting cloud-based IT systems to monitor all aspects of their supply chain.

Recent announcements in the logistics industry suggest this trend is on the increase. UPS’ announcement of its Supplier Management product, Order Watch, is built on cloud-based technology. According to the company it is intended to enable customers to better collaborate with international suppliers and manage inbound supply chains.

Many transportation management systems (TMS) are also providing cloud-based alternatives. C.H. Robinson’s Navisphere is such a service. It can serve as a TMS or alongside one and is an online service that allows for end to end visibility to shipments on a single global platform, across all services, in every region where customers do business. It also provides other services such as:

·        Enter and track shipments

·        View and print documents

·        Request quotes

·        Generate custom reports

·        Manage accounts payable

Finally, in November, Elemica, a provider of supply chain integration and optimization solutions, announced a new CEO, John Blyzinskyj. According to the company’s press release, Mr. Blyzinskyj is a “leading global software and enterprise solutions executive” and that the company would focus on cloud-based solutions such as its QuickLink network and SmartLink application which together integrate and automates business processes across the entire supply chain.

Cloud-based services will be a positive move for customers of such logistics services as mentioned. These services tend to be lower in cost, quicker to implement and the ability to access 24/7. As such, as mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones become more common for business use, demand for cloud-based services will likely continue to increase.