Mobile Supply Chain Management: The Dream Will Take a While to Manifest

A recent article over on the Technology Evaluation Centers site on mobile supply chain management: the dream is becoming reality started off by making a great point — ultra-portability still means restricted ease of use and functionality, and even though the release of the iPad by Apple last year began a hardware revolution that opens up a new horizon for supply chain management (SCM) systems for businesses, it’s going to take a while before tablets become common place in the supply chain. While possibilities are opening up for mobile devices now that we’re seeing true touch-screen tablets hit the marketplace, we have to remember that enterprise platforms are typically a few years behind consumer applications, and we’re only starting to see consumer applications use the features of these mobile devices.

First of all, the Android tablets are only starting to hit the market place. Until there are a number of affordable options that match the iPads power, there’s only one tablet option — the iPad, and it’s not really an option when you consider Apple’s closed ecosystem and the fact that any app can be rejected any time for literally any reason.

Secondly, resolutions are not much better than what you find on a small laptop display, which limits the amount of data that can be displayed on one screen. This means that, until the 10″ tablets get better resolution and / or 3D display capability, the analytics and reporting abilities will be limited, and this will limit the usefulness of a tablet for analytics and/or reporting applications.

Thirdly, computing power is limited, so not only are you limited to SaaS platforms, but due to the data requirements, you’re limited to wherever you have good wifi.

Of course, once the Android tablets take off, resolutions improve, wifi is more universal, and more business applications appear that are designed specifically for mobile devices, it will be a different story. But that’s still a few years away.