Staying Mobile

Energy companies can derive benefits from using mobile enterprise apps for supply chain management. The key resides in planning, and the ability to answer questions.

Why Mobile Enterprise?

Regardless of the supply chain, the goal is always to make the supply process run more smoothly, quickly and efficiently to avoid exceptions, shortages and service disruptions. For energy companies, security and compliance issues add an extra level of complexity.

Mobile enterprise apps can be a solution for energy supply chains, bringing the back end and every piece of the process to a mobile device in real time, while helping energy providers use data to increase operational efficiency and ensure regulatory compliance.

In addition to faster exception resolution, mobile enterprise SCM apps can supply analytics of the different triggers that initiate actions along each link in the chain. This insight translates to efficient updating of inventory and other records, ensuring that the right parts are getting to the right places, replenishing inventory, and speeding billing and collections. An effective mobile enterprise SCM strategy can provide consumers with energy use analysis, helping them better manage and conserve consumption.

The beauty of mobile enterprise SCM apps for more effective and accurate management are their ability to allow energy and other firms to move to new and improved functionality in SCM, without the additional and often exorbitant expense of building or purchasing updates to existing systems.

A utility company, for example, could reduce costs and turnaround time associated with meter-reading by using a mobile solution that allows customers to send GPS-encoded photos of meters via smartphones. Enlisting customers provides the benefit of increasing awareness about energy consumption and enables them to better manage consumption, while improving bill presentment and payment turnaround times.

Considerations in Mobile SCM

Supply chain is a like a living organism, responding to market changes, new products/product phase-outs, acquisitions, risk assessment, credit availability, labor issues and evolving regulations. An effective mobile SCM app should be able to grow and adapt along with your supply chain.

Supply chain performance analysis is a key part of mobile SCM apps. Energy companies should look for mobile solutions that enable cost/performance evaluation, freight price and labor rate monitoring, regulatory compliance alerts, risk mitigation and automatic service updates.

SCM tools are only as good as adoption rates. Energy companies can ensure high adoption by using apps that simplify the complex. A mobile SCM tool should be easy to use, eliminating training; it should support and grow with your systems; and it should be accessible from any mobile device.

Develop an Effective Strategy

Organizations looking to mobile devices for an effective mobile strategy on a local, regional or national basis should ask the following questions to help determine the most cost-effective and comprehensive mobile SCM tool:

  • What apps are to be mobilized?
  • What type of device is required (smart phone vs. tablet)?
  • Is access to peripheral devices (bar code readers, scanners, printers, equipment or off-line storage) required?
  • What is the value to be derived by the mobile application?
  • What level of security is required? Many mobile device management packages exist to prevent hacking into devices and will deactivate/wipe a device if it is lost or tampered with.
  • How critical is it to keep up with the evolving mobile technology?  What is the expected life of the app and the mobile devices?
  • How will the organization support the mobile app? Based on the footprint (time zones, numbers, complexity and time-sensitivity), does the organization need intensive support (24/7 help desk and pre-positioned spares) or can it wait for communications to be re-established alternately?

The answers will guide you to a mobile solution suitable for current and future needs, ensuring security, cost-effectiveness and responsiveness required for the energy industry.

Rom Reddy is president and CEO of Sita Corp. based in Somerset, N.J. Sita Corp. is a global business and transformation consulting firm specializing in enterprise data, analytics and enterprise mobile communications that Reddy founded in 1993.