Leverage Existing Technologies But Continue to Focus on the Process

Rick Broughton, CTO, Flash Global
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The push is on throughout the service supply chain industry to find the next technological breakthrough that’s going to drive service efficiencies, help accelerate revenues and generate growth. There’s no shortage of amazing technologies emerging on a regular basis but Flash Global, a leading provider of holistic service supply chain solutions, knows they are most successful making a dedicated effort to leverage established technologies with cutting-edge advancements — rather than relying solely on a single silver bullet breakthrough.

This proactive, forward-thinking approach is transforming the business landscape as we know it, enabling an easy streamlining of operations, creating greater efficiencies and positioning firms to capitalize on a multitude of business opportunities. It’s a matter of leveraging established technologies along with a mix from the cutting edge, introducing excellent processes, and then following through with stellar execution.

At Flash we’re making use of these established technologies that are part of the new buzz in technology, such as the Internet of Things (IoT). We leverage these throughout our facilities worldwide to gain benefits for us and our customers as we are able to track the movement into our facilities, through our facilities and then out again. Those who are dedicated to optimizing this process are finding it’s a true differentiator in our space.

And as product leaves our warehouses we leverage IoT again as we rollout a global GPS service network. The proliferation of GPS capability has become a commodity for anyone in the logistics business — or any industry where your customers want to know where their asset is at any point in time. And we’re now taking it beyond tracking the single item as we leverage this technology to integrate with other services offerings.

At Flash, for example, historically it has been a logistics play for us, getting an item or product from a warehouse to a customer within a certain time frame — most often a 2 to 4 hour window or next day delivery. However, there is also often a highly specialized implementation effort to be executed once delivery has been completed and a need to have a capable technician on site when that product gets delivered. With both the device delivery and the booking of the technician being driven through our systems we can leverage these same IoT technologies and self-aware mobile devices to integrate these activities into a more streamlined process for the customer.

Introducing these proven technologies as an integrated solution ensures not only that the critical replacement device arrives on schedule as communicated but also that a properly credentialed technician is going to be on site at delivery. This enables customers to schedule their resources appropriately, eliminates the inefficiency of waiting and shaves valuable time off the process.

This is a great example of how technology that is now well established is being leveraged and integrated into the fabric of our industry to deliver significant efficiency gains for our customers. It is no coincidence that this is becoming more capable in an environment that is growing increasingly reliant on mobile technologies to attain greater efficiencies. This is also a driver behind our cloud-first and mobile-first approach as we introduce new technologies.

  ‚ÄčThe ability for us to turn data into information and then into wisdom empowers us to provide the expertise our customers demand.

The drivers who are moving products around and the techs being employed to do installations or repairs are not working out of an office or being dispatched from a central location. They’re using their mobile devices to not only get updates and alerts but also the basic information: what’s getting deployed, the customer’s location and contact information, and all the work instructions for the job. This helps create a level of efficiency that is absolutely critical for any business, but especially for those that operate on a global scale.

We’ve had big data capabilities, and the ongoing challenge of how to best leverage the information, for many years. Companies like Flash that are moving products all over the world are conducting hundreds of thousands of transactions — and generating a gold mine of data in the process.

Everything that happens within those transactions is captured, such as frequency of orders for certain technologies, geospatial information detailing demand changes and hundreds of other KPI’s that together identify trends in the market. That’s readily accessible information we can analyze, and while it may not necessarily affect our businesses today it could hold the key to understanding where the industry is going and where we should be focusing our resources and investments moving forward.

Capturing this information is only the first step. The real value comes from having the technology tools in place to allow us analyze, understand and share this knowledge with our teams, our partners and our customers. The ability for us to turn data into information and then into wisdom empowers us to provide the expertise our customers demand.

But as always, while these technologies hold great potential to drive this change and growth they are not standalone solutions. It requires the experience and expertise to know how to leverage these tools. And the potential gain we can achieve will, as always, be directly related to our ability to execute with precision and excellence.

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