If functions like selling, marketing and finance could be embedded into such a device, why not logistics and procurement? It is the same turnover computers once did to all the bundles of papers and files that occupied the offices when we doubted if the work could be executed by a computer. In my innovation project, I aspired to develop a prototype where SMS technology is used to initialize a series of activities in the supply chain, given an automatic and appropriate response message, and when appropriate, report an activity.

Procurement services into a small device? Taking two things and putting themtogether in a different way is always challenging. Innovation motives held up our perseverance. Thus far, we were successful in creating objectives, identifying the challenges and setting up target users while developing the very first prototype.

When choosing a partner to develop the solution for us, we considered many options. Satisfaction experienced by one of their previous clients, where the project had resolved issues due to warehousing storage, internal and external distribution and shipping, was the most convincing factor that helped me come to my decision to join up with this partner. discussions and meetings turned out to be a very enthusiastic and we continued to proceed with one step after the other. The SMS-based solution could include features such as tracing issues and packages, unique style of shipping and labeling, goods receiving and distribution, picking and packing, order confirmations etc.

Marsha Sinetar, the author, said, “Trust is not a matter of technique, but of character; we are trusted because of our way of being, not because of our polished exteriors or our expertly crafted communications.” We started from step one, where in it turns out to be a project that is completely a creation and not at all an innovation or replica, giving maximum balance to both technique and technology, which, became the convincing factor for all the superiors, managers and the anticipated end users of the produce who would be also, the testers at multiple phases of the product development.

Our main objectives for the future ahead would be to explore the real Infrastructure at the Warehouses in terms of Internet, Telephone, Laptop Connection to ERP-system and usage of ERP-system or other systems. Furthermore,  focus would be on the assessment and implementation of the needs of global stock management (in particular, Core Relief Items); and evaluating progress, issues, problems, etc. and establishing maximum coordination with the Warehouse Manager who would be responsible for the accuracy of the data provided.

The SMS system might look like this.

The SMS system might look like this.

Presently, our focus is on researching what infrastructure could be set up at various warehouses, such as Internet, Telephone, laptop Connection to ERP-system, Usage of ERP-system or other systems. 10-30 different warehouses will be selected to test the SMS program. Low connectivity or lack of connectivity is a challenge but also an opportunity. The main benefit of this prototype solution is the impact that it could have in remote field locations, like Bukavu or Uvira, where access to Internet is rare, where there is a considerable lack of systems in place (ERP) and where mobile coverage is scarce. An SMS platform, which is by definition cheap and easy to install, would provide huge impact in this context.

Throughout the project, we were thinking of ways to help ease the transition from the old system to the new system, for those who will be using the new system will help to facilitate acceptance and enthusiasm about the new system. Sharing of information, especially regarding the changes taking place will help to ease the level of anxiety during the transition from the old legacy system to the new system, keeping in mind that, end users have never used this system at all and make them understand the level of comfort. When going to a new way of doing their jobs and obtaining information, a period of learning and settling in is to be expected, as everyone will not migrate and accept changes in the same time frame.

Read more about Gerard’s project here.

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