The consumerisation of digital technology has seen a surge in demand for mobile-first logistics solutions placing significant pressure on companies to adopt a digital approach to supply chains. Cassie Lessing, managing director, Strato IT Group, a mobile business solutions provider, says that logistics has rapidly become the backbone of industry and that the enterprise sector, in particular, is under increasing pressure to digitise its supply chain.

“Consumerisation has become a reality within the enterprise sector, threatening to render the older, clumsier technology irrelevant, and favouring consumer-grade tablets and smartphones. Since launching its ePod application, StratoPOD two years ago, Strato has seen a sharp increase in the requirement to digitise logistics for a large range of enterprise companies. Strato has been successful in converting new business and says this was achieved because of the quality and functionality provided by the Strato digitisation solutions, as well as the very satisfied customer base that is totally referenceable.”

Lessing says that although StratoPOD can operate in and integrate with, all well-known back-office systems, StratoPOD is fast establishing itself as the ePod of choice with customers running SAP ERP as its back office. Strato’s extensive SAP experience and integration skillset has enabled it to deliver an ePod application that seamlessly integrates with SAP to facilitate efficient business process automation. StratoPOD also complements SAP’s Direct Store Delivery (DSD) functionality and is an excellent cost-effective alternative to SAP’s Mobile DSD App. The StratoPOD journey and success also provides Strato with the framework and building blocks to rapidly respond to other digitisation and mobile app requirements.

A complex industry, Lessing says it has been a massive learning curve over the past four years, with customer’s digitisation expectations: “As customers discover the value of digitisation they quickly start identifying additional functionality opportunities. This presents a challenge to the standardisation of mobile business applications, but Strato’s digitisation platform has evolved to incorporate a comprehensive repository of standard components as well as customer specific functionality. In addition, Strato is also able to develop bespoke solutions designed around the customer’s current ecosystem and logistics approach.”

With the increasing pressure, Lessing says that as enterprise businesses adapt to a more consumer-centric approach, it is essential that the supply chain and operations are also reassessed. He says that the role of cloud computing is inevitable as a catalyst for change and is one of the main drivers behind making enterprise customers more innovative and agile.

“Those companies who are not actively considering cloud and a mobile business solution will find it harder to compete. Hampered by legacy IT systems and approaches, slow-moving customers will struggle to survive in a rapidly digitised economy,” says Lessing.

Using his SAP legacy and knowledge, Lessing says while the growth for Strato’s mobile business has been exceptional, the sales pipeline can still take up to 12 to 24 months: “It’s a long process, but once converted, we find customers can’t stop looking at ways to push the boundaries of a mobile business application.”

Lessing says that the digitisation of the Supply Chain is inevitable and logistics service providers not responding to customer demands in this regard will be displaced. Cloud and mobile computing is rapidly reducing the cost of running a seamless and paperless delivery system. Supply chain participants should partner to share the cost of digitisation, and once implemented, all participants will experience an immediate return on investment. The value of these mobile applications should not be underestimated.”

Not to be ignored, says Lessing, is the rise of cloud-based technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT). With IDC and SAP predicting a 15% productivity increase in delivery and supply chain performance, customers have a lot to gain from implementations: “These new resources not only re-imagine systems, they also reduce costs, improve networks and ultimately they generate more revenue.”