Technological developments in transportation and communication have been immensely important in transforming the basic time-space infrastructure of the logistics and distribution industries (Dicken, 2011, p. 405). In the article, I have read that manufacturing and distribution supply chains are focusing on “lean systems of distribution”, which minimizes time and cost involved in moving products between suppliers and customers.
“Tools such as delivery routing and scheduling software, or load consolidation with mode optimization software, can make the transportation process more cost efficient for many shippers”. Some of the cost-cutting efforts firms are using to increase profits are consolidation of shipments into fewer truckloads as well as cutting back on express shipments.
“Additionally, wireless smart devices can be constantly connected to the company infrastructure. The advent of cloud-based software deployments has made it easier than ever for professionals to securely access the virtual business infrastructure at any time.”
“Social media sites are another way communication can be improved along the entire supply chain. According to Parsons, connecting with suppliers and distributors in real time can help everyone keep updated on the status of shipments. Mobile devices can also be used to log into social media sites for quicker access to these informal communication channels.”
These show that information technology, particularly electronic data interchange, plays a major role in materials management. EDI facilitates the tracking of inputs, allows the firm to optimize its production schedule, lets supplier and firms communicate instantly and eliminates the flow of paperwork between a firm and its suppliers.
Dicken, P. (2011) Global Shift. New York, London: The Guilford Press