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Real-time mapping technology to give Asia’s SCM industry world-class capabilities, says global expert

By Clarice Africa 27 Jun 2014

One of the world’s leading geospatial experts is in Singapore this week to advise the region’s logistics industry on how real-time mapping technology will help them achieve world-class supply chain capabilities.

“More than 80 per cent of Singapore’s logistics data is location related,” said Wolfgang Hall, Global Industry Manager for Logistics and Supply Chain Management (SCM) at mapping technology giant Esri.

“Whether its data on distribution networks, customer demographics, resources or competitors – location is inherent in the business of supply chain and logistics, and this is why SCM organisations are increasingly using Geographic Information System (GIS) technology.”

GIS is a smart mapping technology, which integrates, and analyses data from multiple business systems to create a dynamic and interactive map-based view of information. 

In logistics and SCM, the technology enables decision-makers, such as fleet managers, to: easily track how efficiently their goods are being delivered; determine where and when goods should be shipped; and reduce business risks influenced by location and movement.

Mr Hall said many of the world’s leading logistical companies – including FedEx – heavily rely on GIS technology to meet delivery deadlines and remain competitive.

“FedEx use GIS technology to create a real-time, synchronised view of its operations, and understand how to best optimise their delivery vehicles and services,” Mr Hall said.

“This is particularly important when dealing with delivery of perishables that demand a stable temperature range at all times. With GIS technology, Fedex can easily monitor and remedy any potential temperature fluctuations.

“Some deliveries also require special equipment and special driver skill sets, such as knowing how to handle museum artwork or having government security clearances. In these cases, GIS is also critical in ensuring deliveries have the right resources assigned to them.”

“Beyond the ability of plotting points on a map, GIS is also about sophisticated spatial analytics that allows decision makers to look at their data in an entirely new perspective, giving them richer context that static reports and spreadsheets cannot provide.

Mr Hall is in Singapore to advise leading SCM professionals at the SCM Logistics and Manufacturing World 2014 in partnership with regional GIS experts from Esri South Asia.

“When it comes to SCM, GIS adoption in Asia is growing progressively as organisations – especially in Southeast Asia - look for feasible and innovative solutions that can help them overcome supply chain weaknesses and manage risks.

“If you think about the many natural disasters we’ve had recently that brought global business operations to a standstill, you can see the value of strategic planning in knowing what risks are inherent and where it is likely to affect your business.”

Mr Hall said with the ASEAN economic integration just under a year away, investing in technologies such as GIS will be critical in ensuring regional businesses remain competitive.

“Location information is powerful – and when combined with GIS technology, its benefits are only limited by the imagination of those who use it,” he said.

The SCM Logistics and Manufacturing World 2014 is running at Suntec International Convention & Exhibition Centre from 23-25 June 2014. 

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