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December 2010


IT Best foot forward The European magazine promoting the effective use of IT in supply chain applications

Special Technology Report Round-up: CLOUD COMPUTING



Visibility and control FORECAST/PLAN:

Hitting the right chord ADC:

Putting speech to work on mobile devices WMS:

Picking at the right pace VOICE:

Perfect match TRANSPORT:

Refreshing solution

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Many manufacturing and logistics professionals have had a challenging economic time of it over the past couple of years. However, the advent of a new year always offers the opportunity to draw a line between a less than savoury present and a future that just might present more bounteous opportunities; despite all the talk about the ‘age of austerity’. But, rather than basing one’s hopes on blind optimism, there would appear to be a good deal to celebrate even before the bells of Big Ben ring in 2011. First, let’s take a look at the UK’s recent manufacturing operating performance courtesy of the latest seasonally adjusted Markit/Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS) Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI). This took a noticeable turn for the better during November, while employment rose at the quickest pace since the survey began in 1992, reflecting stronger growth of output and faster inflows of new work and new export orders. Now for the second helping of Xmas cheer; the volume of sales on the high street was higher in November than a year ago, for the fifth consecutive month, as shoppers started gearing up for Christmas. The CBI’s latest quarterly Distributive Trades survey has revealed that 55 per cent of retailers saw the volume of sales rise in the two weeks to 10 November, while only 13 per cent said they fell.

Ed Holden Editor

But moving aside from market statistics, what does 2011 and beyond promise from a technology standpoint? Well, like the suggestion of a rosy path ahead cited above, further system evolution and enhancements would also appear to be about to take 2011 by the scruff of the neck. It’s all happening; everything from ever greater levels of system miniaturisation and technology integration in the autoID space, to further developments in the world of SaaS-based solution offerings. There would also appear to be a growing level of user awareness regarding the benefits of accurate performance metrics and analytics in terms of making better business and operational decisions. Incidentally, in this edition of Manufacturing & Logistics IT, we include an article publicising the soon-to-be-held Gartner UK Business Intelligence Summit. This event is geared to ensuring companies are in a position to fully exploit the benefits of Business Intelligence and Performance Management, and ensure they are in the best shape to maximise opportunities that present themselves in the wake of the economic downturn. With morale-boosting stats, and the technology and expert guidance there to leverage maximum advantage as we climb out of the economic malaise, it’s time to take a bolder and more confident step into 2011. Happy Holidays and a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

December 2010





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