It is the transition to Industry 4.0 (fourth industrial revolution) that has forced the birth of the supply chain 4.0. The evolution of the supply chain towards process automation has been made necessary by the growing need for companies to be competitive in the face of customer demands and market competition. New agility is demanded of them, resulting in cost pressure. Digitalization contributes to their control by acting on the economic levers of purchasing, storage, production and shipping.
The supply chain at the time of industry 4.0
The transformation of the supply chain follows the evolution of Industry 4.0 by using new technologies such as IoT, big data, artificial intelligence or robotics.
These innovations at the heart of the industry serve the interests of logistics, as they save time, space and manpower.
Connected objects provide real-time information on the progress of a production, packaging or shipment. You can know exactly the state of the stock and trigger a replenishment at the right time. Efficient inventory management also has an influence on purchasing.
Thanks to a predictive analysis of needs, organizations can deploy material and human resources to gain in productivity, while preserving certain resources.
Industry 4.0 and supply chain 4.0: what links?
Interconnectivity of services improves Industry 4.0 performance. Increasingly powerful information systems enable faster decision-making and responsiveness of actors in very different fields, by pooling all resources.
The use of robots in the supply chain reduces the repetitiveness and drudgery of human work. IoT interfaces provide information on machine occupancy or inventory status in real time. Big data allows to analyze precisely where the needs are and to define an intelligent sourcing of suppliers.
Why should industrial companies digitalize their supply chain?
The digital transformation accompanies industries in all their fields of activity. The supply chain is one of them and, as such, is the object of particular attention, as it is one of the most competitive and resource-intensive sectors of the company. The digitalization of the supply chain offers two major advantages to the company.
On the one hand, it introduces the predictive notion, i.e. it is able to anticipate needs and the mobilization of resources. Big data is involved in this new organization by analyzing all the parameters.
On the other hand, the new supply chain 4.0 processes better meet the flexibility requirements demanded by customers. They expect immediate responses, flexibility and responsiveness. The stakes for the company are huge, because customer satisfaction remains a priority. Customers and industries are the main actors in an ultra-competitive economic environment where preference will be given to the one who responds “quickly and well”.
Customers also use digital tools: a delay in their use can cause industries unaware of the issues to lose markets. Investing in the digitalization of the supply chain must remain a short-term objective, as the rapid obsolescence of processes weakens the function.