The BSS infrastructure of telecoms companies has historically been bespoke/self-built in origin and, perhaps as a result, highly effective for its purpose if not always cost-effective. With the advent of ‘boxed billing’ for mobile in the late 90s, self-build waned as the approach-of-choice while vendor-supplied solutions took an increasing market share.
However, from wherever BSS systems were sourced, in most functional areas - billing and customer care being just the obvious example - Telecom Network Inventory Management Software companies have led most if not all other industries in developing and implementing enterprise-class solutions for business processes and SIM inventory.
Considering this, it’s worth noting that this isn’t so much the case with SIM inventory and SIM logistics. While manual, in-house processes to discharge this function remain favored by some, many operators rely on ERP systems, BPM solutions and outsourcing to SIM vendors or other logistics partners to address the problem. This means a compromise more limiting in nature as the SIM market makes technological advances and the SIM-dependent IoT proliferates.
The problems for operators are clear: ERP/BPM systems are costly to use and frequently limited in function for batch processing. In-house and manual processes are laborious and inefficient. Reporting is compromised and real-time inventory management difficult, if not impossible. The result: Inventory costs rise when stock availability can’t be effectively management. And the result of that? Old and unusable goods, wastage on reconciliation processes and, perhaps most importantly of all in a competitive market, an inability to support dynamic promotion and marketing offers.
Managing SIM logistics is a complex business!
If we examine a typical SIM process flow, which can be divided into a few steps, the need for a bespoke solution to aid inventory and logistics management becomes clearer. What its functionality needs to encompass (and which ERM, BRP, and other solutions were not specifically designed to address) are the following:
- Receiving SIM Inventory - so that vendors can create consignment orders via Mobile App and warehouses can confirm receipt of goods.
- Put-away - so that warehouses can track Quality Assurance checks, automatically identify racking, and confirm inventory location.
- Picking - where stock requests can be processed and orders created, stock can be identified by location, and delivery method confirmed.
- Tracking - where a courier can use an App (or integrate with their own system) which can calculate pricing based on dimensions and handle security in the form of OTPs for despatch and delivery.
The right approach to SIM inventory management meets modern management requirements
On one hand there is the complexity and on the other the importance of meeting those challenges cost-effectively, which taken together points to the increasingly critical need for a bespoke approach to SIM logistics and inventory management. Worth keeping in mind are the key requirements of such a solution. In our view, these are:
Automation - Many operators may have manual processes when it comes to warehousing today but this is unlikely to be a viable approach moving into tomorrow.
Expanded View – Operators today need to understand their business from a ‘real activations vs physical goods’ perspective which has be available in real-time.
Tracking – Understanding where the stock is physically is vital to measuring not just Sales vs Commissions, but also to understanding how much stock is required (traditionally this has not been a 1-1 relationship).
Cost Savings – Critical in order to reduce stock floats and introduce KPIs for the sales channels.
At Evolving Systems, we have a solution that meets the challenge of SIM Logistics and Inventory Management called SIMplistix. Please click here to read more about it or click here to schedule a meeting to learn more.