On the Digital Edge

What can the front lines of the supply chain learn from the digital front lines of the war in Ukraine?


War in Ukraine broadcast from smartphone with dove of peace

Living here in the US, we are fortunate to be a safe distance from the horrors of war. The Russian invasion and the Ukrainian resistance provide a window into how the use of mobile technology from the digital front lines provides a critical advantage in the fight.


A recent FT article, How Kyiv was saved by Ukrainian ingenuity as well as Russian blunders, includes a story of a Samsung executive staying with his elderly parents near Hostemel. Through only his smartphone and a chatbot called “STOP Russian War”, he input the location of a Russian convoy close to Hostemel airport. About 30 minutes later the convoy was attacked by the Ukrainian military.


Since then, the Ukrainian government created an app, called Diia, to make it easier for citizens to upload the locations of Russian forces. Mstyslav Banik, director at the Ministry of Digital Transformation is quoted saying, in defending the city of Kyiv, everyone is trying to help.


A dramatic illustration, but the use of smartphones and getting real-time information from people on the digital front lines is the new reality of war, just as it is for managing the supply chain.


There are 3PLs today that lean far more heavily on data and information than others to manage the complex and fluid logistics of truck delivery. Based on recent conversations, I am struck by how far the use of mobility to collect digital primary delivery data has progressed. We see customer critical information like proof of delivery, damage reports, and unexpected surcharges, all uploaded in real-time from the point of delivery. Forward-thinking providers are collecting millions of data points over thousands of deliveries to discern what’s really happening on the front lines of the supply chain.


Mobile tech is great at capturing valuable first-hand data from the digital front lines of operations, and software is really good at not only reading but making sense of complex data. Whether in times of war or on the front lines of fulfilling deliveries teams work smarter when they have access to real-time actionable data. If you are not so sure, send me a message. I’d love to prove it to you.

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