Supply Chain Management in Technical Aspects

Introduction

The given paper presents a summary of the fourteenth chapter of the book by Oakden and Leonaite (2011) devoted to the knowledge of logistics. The chapter contains the information on such topics as the role of technology in logistics, meaning of the terms “data” and “information” in the field, global standards in connection with the production, phases of data standards implementation, applications for supply chains, and the way they are implemented. The issue that needs to be put more focus on is the proper choice of applications by business owners. The question is important because a thorough analysis of business needs helps to avoid unnecessary expenses.

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Technology in Supply Chains

Technology provides entrepreneurs with a range of benefits; for instance, it helps to control product movement, optimise logistics, and even save money. Importantly, the authors also list challenges related to the use of technology which includes possible misuse of data by retailers, lack of financial support, and inadequate cost estimation. The propositions by the authors seem to be valid as the outcomes of the use of technology always depend on other factors such as knowledge level and available resources.

Data and Information

The authors highlight the importance of proper use of such terms as “data” and “information”. The former is represented by separate numbers or words related to technology whereas the latter already has structure and meaning.

Proper use of data and information allows companies to improve pipeline visibility which involves an increased process control. At the same time, constant information exchange requires entrepreneurs to be more careful to avoid leaks of data.

The authors mention three “Cs” such as cooperation, coordination, and collaboration making the teamwork meaningful (Oakden & Leonaite, 2011). In connection with the topic, it is important to highlight that achieving collaborative environment is a gradual process involving numerous steps, and a company cannot be called successful unless it is able to coordinate its internal and external processes. It is difficult to disagree with this opinion as information exchange should be well-organised and involve the use of CPFR and data standards (Ramanathan, 2014).

Global Standards

The use of standards encourages a meaningful information exchange. On a global scale, data exchange can be simplified with the help of the use of barcodes and identification systems proposed by different organizations such as GS1 (Anikina & Djordjevic, 2015). GTIN is an identifier allowing to retrieve the data concerning a product and its manufacturer (Bai et al., 2017). SSCC is a tool used to identify units of the issue (D’Souza, 2014). A barcode is one of the most common tools which can be read by a range of devices including smartphones, it should be printed on the packaging of the majority of goods.

In fact, it is hard to deny that numerous systems aimed at categorization and identification can be called a force for progress in the field as they simplify information management. Therefore, the authors’ discussion is informative and objective.

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Implementing Data Standards in Business

Apart from developing data standards, it is necessary to define the best strategy to implement them into practice. The adoption of international standards and barcodes is at first regarded as the way to improve accuracy and reduce the share of ineffective activities.

The second phase of standards implementation is strictly interconnected with the opportunity to get rid of paper documents and, therefore, to spend resources in a wise manner. In fact, the use of EDI allows propelling data structuring to the next level (Macharia & Ismail, 2015). Errors related to master data can cause significant financial losses and misunderstanding between partners, and the use of data standards is expected to eliminate the problem. Using GDSN, specialists get access to numerous catalogues which help them to standardise item data so that it will be properly read in other countries (Jayaraman, Buyurgan, Rardin, Varghese, & Pazour, 2015).

To continue, an important phase of standards implementation is inextricably connected with the use of data carriers. For instance, using AIDC in business, specialists can process a large volume of information from paper documents and save it in electronic databases (Musa, Gunasekaran, & Yusuf, 2014). The choice of the particular technology depends upon the type of data. Thus, OCR is used for texts whereas OBR serves for barcode scanning (Agbasonu & Okorie, 2013). Also, it is important to mention the use of RFID chips which improve tracking processes (Malthouse & Li, 2017).

To implement data standards successfully, it is important to identify the locations using such tool as GLN enabling more accurate tracking and minimize losses.

The proper use of data standards is extremely important when there is a need to recall certain products. To conduct the operation as soon as possible, it is necessary to ensure that all the parties use identical information. To achieve this goal, companies may use a tool called GTS. In general, the authors seem to provide a thorough review of stages of data standards implementation as the problems peculiar to each stage are clearly defined and their plan aligns with the practical experience of many companies.

Applications for Supply Chains

Applications should be chosen based on the needs of a company in order to improve business performance and avoid unnecessary time expenditures. ERP system involves a range of tools serving for data integration. With its help, companies may synchronise the data on the workforce, production plans, and available resources. ERP includes a few subtypes; for instance, discrete systems are used to manage the items that are assembled (such as electronic devices) whereas process ERP systems serve for other goods.

More than that, there is a range of SNAP applications that are responsible for planning and analysis. In general, all the systems can be subdivided into interfaced and integrated ones. The former use their own information structures but they also can have access to other databases whereas the latter are already synchronised with standard catalogues.

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As for distribution systems, there is a range of applications such as ERP and WMS simplifying distribution of orders. These tools are typically used by large companies as they allow to process substantial numbers of orders. The authors clearly see the peculiarities of each type of applications and this is why the knowledge reported is feasible.

Implementing Applications

There are numerous risks associated with the implementation of ITC systems as the latter may be too complicated for a particular business. In fact, it often happens that companies are too optimistic when it comes to assessing time expenditures and costs of changing the system. Therefore, objectivity and the use of special applications for cost planning remain important.

E-Business and E-Commerce

There are different types of e-business such as B2B, C2B, and others. Sometimes, such a business can involve governments (G2G). In connection to the topic, it is important to understand such notions as intranet which involves processes and data that can be accessed only by employees in a company and extranet available to customers. Also, sellers and buyers can communicate using various social networks which can become good trading platforms.

Conclusion

In general, the information presented in the chapter seems to be universal as it can be used in different spheres of business. The chapter focuses on technical aspects of supply chain management, and it is possible to regard it as a good reference source for those who need a substantial review of applications and information systems related to the sphere of activity.

References

Agbasonu, V. C., & Okorie, S. C. (2013). Deploying 2F authentication algorithm for electronic vovers’ registration in Nigeria. West African Journal of Industrial and Academic Research, 8(1), 70-84.

Anikina, E. V., & Djordjevic, M. (2015). International experience of winemaking production traceability system use. Journal of Hygienic Engineering and Design, 12, 85-89.

Bai, H., Zhou, G., Hu, Y., Sun, A., Xu, X., Liu, X., & Lu, C. (2017). Traceability technologies for farm animals and their products in China. Food Control, 79, 35-43.

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D’Souza, M. (2014). Serious about the supply chain: Processing. The Dairy Mail, 21(8), 107-110.

Jayaraman, R., Buyurgan, N., Rardin, R. L., Varghese, V. M., & Pazour, J. A. (2015). An exploratory pilot study on supply chain data standards in a hospital pharmacy. Engineering Management Journal, 27(3), 141-151.

Macharia, C. W., & Ismail, N. (2015). Role of electronic data interchange on supply chain performance in manufacturing sector in Kenya: A case of Bidco Oil Refinery. International Academic Journal of Procurement and Supply Chain Management, 1(4), 1-11.

Malthouse, E. C., & Li, H. (2017). Opportunities for and pitfalls of using big data in advertising research. Journal of Advertising, 46(2), 227-235.

Musa, A., Gunasekaran, A., & Yusuf, Y. (2014). Supply chain product visibility: Methods, systems and impacts. Expert Systems with Applications, 41(1), 176-194.

Oakden, R., & Leonaite, K. (2011). A framework for supply chains – Logistics operations in the Asia-Pacific region. North Ryde, Australia: McGraw-Hill.

Ramanathan, U. (2014). Performance of supply chain collaboration – A simulation study. Expert Systems with Applications, 41(1), 210-220.

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