Industry 4.0 and SCM
Today’s application of radical new technologies to manufacturing has been dubbed Industry 4.0, or the “fourth industrial revolution.” In this latest iteration of industrialization, technologies such as AI, machine learning, the Internet of Things, automation, and sensors are transforming the way companies manufacture, maintain, and distribute new products and services. It can be said that Industry 4.0 is built on the supply chain.
In Industry 4.0, the way enterprises apply technology to the supply chain is fundamentally different from how they applied it in the past. For example, within the maintenance function, enterprises would typically wait until a machine malfunctioned to fix it. Smart technology has changed that. We can now predict failure before it happens, and then take steps to prevent it so that the supply chain can continue uninterrupted. Today’s SCM is about using technology to make the supply chain―and the enterprise―smarter.
Industry 4.0 SCM also provides a significant advantage over traditional SCM because it enables aligned planning and execution while at the same time delivering substantial cost savings. For instance, companies that operate under a “plan-to-produce” model—in which product production is linked as closely as possible to customer demand—must create an accurate forecast. That involves juggling numerous inputs to ensure that what is produced will meet market demand without exceeding it, avoiding costly overstocks. Intelligent SCM solutions can help you meet customer demand and financial objectives at the same time.
Intelligent SCM has other advantages, too. For instance, it can free up supply chain employees to contribute to the business in ways that add more value. Better SCM systems that automate mundane tasks can equip supply chain professionals with the tools they need to successfully deliver the products and services the supply chain is designed around.