While technology, such as warehouse inventory management software, can be great for a supply chain and manufacturing business, industry professional JB Dagley wrote on Business 2 Community that some businesses can be led down dead-end paths if they choose the wrong tools for their organization.

"This happens when data is confused with the end-goal, instead of maintaining a perspective of data as a means to an end," he wrote. "Temptation is ample; supply chain chatter and writing is now rife with buzzwords like big data and the cloud. The secret to working well with these tools is to systematically refer back to business goals to see if the technology can help achieve better results and to be selective in their application. "

Dagley wrote that organizations should look for tools that take different areas of big data and are able to drill it down into the most useful and refined information to help the organization become more efficient. Computers now have more processing power than ever, but companies must be choosy when it comes to which data is actually useful to them and which will only lead to dead ends. Picking the correct software for the organization will go a long way toward making sure everything works out well in this area.

No matter what kind of technology is chosen, Dagley said starting with the end result in mind is essential. This means keeping business cases in mind when adopting new technology instead of bringing a program in simply because it is the new thing to have.

"When you know what strategic results you want to achieve, then you can drill for the data and process it appropriately – supply chain strategy then tactics and action," he wrote. "Avoid technological red herrings by using technology to support your business, rather than forcing your business to support technology."

Becoming more efficient with technology
InBound Logistics said having access to technology, such as warehouse management systems, is a key operational component for supply chains. Benefits can include improvements to automation, service efficiency gains and safety boosts.

Jim Emmerling, an industry professional, said his organization's warehouse management system offers all the floor functionality it needs.

"We can select product according to first-in/first out, last-in/first-out specifications, or even a specific code date," he told InBound Logistics. "And, if a customer wants to ensure all of a particular lot number goes to a specific consignee, we can place the order with that kind of methodology."

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