Title: The role of location in supply chain management: how mobile communication enables supply chain best practice and allows companies to move to the next level

Authors: Hanns-Christian L. Hanebeck, Bryan Tracey

Addresses: GlobeRanger Corporation, 1301 E. Collins Blvd, Ste 400, Richardson, TX 75081, USA. GlobeRanger Corporation, 1301 E. Collins Blvd, Ste 400, Richardson, TX 75081, USA

Abstract: Today|s supply chain environment is characterised by many factors that increase uncertainty, risk and lead to a loss of control. This paper begins by investigating these factors to argue that there is a downward spiral today, in which uncertainty and risk lead to a lack of confidence. This increases risk and, in turn, negatively affects confidence and so on. The paper provides visibility and control as two remedies against this hurtful, reinforcing mechanism in the supply chain. It shows how both can be utilised to substantially increase confidence by using location-based supply chain technologies such as wireless handheld devices or GPS receivers. Then follows the introduction of an information system architecture that realises the proposed concepts and offers a solution to break the risk-confidence spiral. With this technological foundation in place, a framework for supply chain maturity is described that allows managers to assess their own situation and also to plan to enhance control and visibility by planning how they can move from the current level of supply chain maturity to the next. The paper concludes with a visionary outlook of how the market and its still evolving technology will develop over the next few years. In summary, we know today that location-based supply chain technologies will eventually become a natural part of our daily lives as professionals and consumers who receive and ship things from one point to another. Yet, the path to ubiquity will take a few more years to complete. It is the authors| hope that this paper can contribute to shedding light on the road ahead.

Keywords: mobile communications; technology; supply chain; supply chain management; location, risk; confidence; control; visibility; system architecture; supply chain maturity; event management.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMC.2003.002463

International Journal of Mobile Communications, 2003 Vol.1 No.1/2, pp.148-166

Published online: 18 Jul 2003 *

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