There’s been much discussion about ubiquitous or pervasive computing and little doubt remains that computers are now touching just about every aspect of our lives. This is true both in our personal lives and our professional endeavours and for those in the supply chain field we are rapidly approaching critical mass when it comes to what I call pervasive or ubiquitous supply chain management.
The drivers for this phenomena are high power, low cost computing capability, connective technologies such as wireless, RFID, GPS etc., and last but not least the critical standards that will allow common implementation of all these components in an interoperable fashion anywhere in the world.
The definition of ubiquitous from the online dictionary Die.net is:
Ubiquitous \U*biq”ui*tous\, a. [See Ubiquity.]
Existing or being everywhere, or in all places, at the same time; omnipresent.
Far be it for any logistics and supply chain professionals to claim they’re omnipresent, but when you’re trying to manage a global supply chain, being everywhere can be a very useful state to be in, in order to manage most effectively.
In the case of supply chain management, the term ubiquitous has a few different flavours. The first is ubiquitous from an oversight or tracking perspective in that all products and places withing the supply chain have been clearly defined.
The second form of ubuiquity is relative to communications real time with all stakeholders and providers within the supply chain in order to report on and/or modify activity taking place within the supply chain. This can be as simple as communicating demand by placing an order, slightly more action oriented relative to expediting a shipment which is going to be late, or at its’ most complex working jointly with your trading partners to carry out Collaborative Planning, Forecasting and Replenishment (CPFR).
Last but not least, one other important byproduct of ubiquity is security. If at all times product and place is identified in your supply chain and you have full communications command and control, you then have the foundation for total supply chain security, which is actually a byproduct of the effectively functioning ubiquitous supply chain rather than an additional step or add on cost.
As described above, all of the components are now available and can be properly aligned to create the complete supply chain network truly delivering ubiquitous supply chain management for you and your supply channel parnters.