When trying to define how IT can be applied within the supply chain we should first attempt to define the term Information technology. while this is still a commonly used term it is in my opinion outdated and needs to be revised and updated to take advantage of and incorporate the quantum leap that has been made over the last 10 years.
Information technology (IT) is the application of computers and telecommunications equipment to store, retrieve, transmit and manipulate data, often in the context of a business or other enterprise. The term is commonly used as a synonym for computers and computer networks, but it also encompasses other information distribution technologies such as television and telephones. Several industries are associated with information technology, including computer hardware, software, electronics, semiconductors, internet, telecom equipment, engineering, healthcare, ecommerce and computer services.
Now that we have a starting point we can see how IT impacts the supply chain. as with any supply chain we first need to understand what elements we are going to examine within the supply chain. lets start with customer service, if we look at this unit (within the supply chain) then we are going to need an office with all the relevant IT and IT infrastructure. if however we are looking at moving goods internationally then a customs system is required with the ability to generate the relevant documentation such as T1's. If the business is involved with movement of the goods from point A to point B then a tracking system for vehicles moving these goods should also come under the IT remit.
to attempt to give an idea of the complexity within each element of the supply chain and how integrated the IT element is i have used the example below.
For warehousing a management system is required. A warehouse management system (WMS) is a key part of the supply chain and primarily aims to control the movement and storage of materials within a warehouse and process the associated transactions, including shipping, receiving, putaway and picking. The systems also direct and optimize stock putaway based on real-time information about the status of bin utilization. A WMS monitors the progress of products through the warehouse. It involves the physical warehouse infrastructure, tracking systems, and communication between product stations. More precisely, warehouse management involves the receipt, storage and movement of goods, (normally finished goods), to intermediate storage locations or to a final customer. In the multi-echelon model for distribution, there may be multiple levels of warehouses. This includes a central warehouse, a regional warehouses (serviced by the central warehouse) and potentially retail warehouses (serviced by the regional warehouses). Warehouse management systems often utilize automatic identification and data capture technology, such as barcode scanners, mobile computers, wireless LANs and potentially radio-frequency identification (RFID) to efficiently monitor the flow of products. Once data has been collected, there is either a batch synchronization with, or a real-time wireless transmission to a central database. The database can then provide useful reports about the status of goods in the warehouse. Warehouse design and process design within the warehouse (e.g. wave picking) is also part of warehouse management. Warehouse management is an aspect of logistics and supply chain management. 3. See also • Automated storage and retrieval system • Data warehouse • Document automation • Enterprise resource planning • Inventory management software • Manufacturing resource planning • Pick and pack • Shipping list • Voice-directed warehousing • Warehouse Control System • Wave Picking
4. References 1. Jump up ^ Piasecki, Dave. "Glossary of Inventory Management and Warehouse Operation Terms". InventoryOps.com. Retrieved 1 May 2015
Information systems in supply chain integration and management • A Gunasekarana, • E.W.T Ngaib, , • a Department of Management, University of Massachusetts, 285 Old Westport Road, North Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300, USA • b Department of Management and Marketing, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, PR China