What’s the core difference between today’s supply chain and the digital supply chain?
Look down at your desk. What do you see? If you see paper, pen, and a computer, you see the typical, modern supply chain. If asked, could you provide the latest information on your current automation, key performance indicators, data, use of IT applications, and finance government?
The chances are good that much of this information is stored digitally. However, you would probably need to look through some of the physical, tactile paperwork to find all of the information. Also, is the information stored only your computer or a server? Now, how long is that going to take you?
No matter how big or small your operation and your company is you likely have the same pressures on your Warehouses and Distribution Centres.
Everyone, including those who are best in class, has the need to reduce costs, improve the speed and accuracy of order fulfillment and warehouse activities, optimize inventory, and provide sufficient capacity to support growth at your busiest times of the year.
The ability to leverage technology to help address those pressures is no longer just possible for large companies. The nature of the technology landscape brings those improvements within the reach of most everyone.
The Internet of Things (IoT) enables the end to end connectivity of all aspects of our lives in an unprecedented manner.
In the arena of Manufacturing there has always been a reliance on processes, data, sensors, controls, analysis and metrics to allow for monitoring, management and optimization of those Manufacturing processes. And the ability to leverage historic approaches has varied from company to company and industry to industry.
But now with the advent of IoT, Big Data, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Industry 4.0 the ability to optimize Manufacturing processes through this incredible digital connectivity is about to take a quantum leap forward.
Infographic and permission to publish provided by Gary Faraci.
Industry 4.0 involves leveraging the latest technologies, digital capabilities, the unprecedented dissemination of IoT (the Internet of Things) and the incredible ability to tap into data anywhere and everywhere in the Supply Chain.
The level of digital connectivity across the entire End-to-End Supply Chain, from customers through to manufacturers, distributors, logistics companies, and suppliers of all kinds enables this forward leap to an Industry 4.0 world.
Since the term Industry 4.0 was first coined by the German government in 2011 it has steadily gathered pace and interest from companies across all industries. This infographic from 2Flow takes you through how much it has grown and how much it is expected to grow in the years to come.
Industry 4.0 is a far cry from what has come before it and data analytics is at the heart of it. In all supply chains, companies are always looking for ways to make it more efficient and digitization is more often than not the answer – which makes Industry 4.0 the answer.
So what can Industry 4.0 accomplish? It is all about connection and it can connect all areas of your business to improve their efficiency. Use real time data to satisfy customer demands, see weaknesses that exist in equipment with data from thousands of sensors and data points, ensure timely replacement of parts and avoid production downtime. This is just some of what Industry 4.0 can accomplish.
Like with anything, there are many challenges to successfully implementing all that Industry 4.0 has to offer. The challenges are vast but a lack of digital culture and training is holding back 50% of companies from incorporating Industry 4.0 technologies. Just because a company is presented with evidences how Industry 4.0 can improve them, it doesn’t mean they’re going to make the change overnight.
This is why it’s so important to map out your strategy over the next five years to at least achieve some progress. Have a look at your company and get some clarity on your own digital maturity and set clear goals.
Even if you’re ready, don’t jump in too early as Industry 4.0 projects are of course expensive. A pilot project might be a good idea and if it’s successful it will make it easier to secure the funding required for a larger rollout. Find out more about all things industry 4.0 in the infographic.
Over the last 5 years there has been an explosion of smart and connected devices. Gartner is predicting that by 2020 there will be 37 Billion connected devices and more than 4.3 Zetabytes of data generated by these devices. The Internet of Things (IoT) is well upon us!
Quick adoption of health devices like Fitbit and smart thermostats such as Nest are bringing more and more connections and opportunities into the consumer world. As such many home appliance and consumer goods companies are looking at how they can take advantage of this trend and transform their interaction with their consumers and customers.
In order to understand how this is starting to evolve and how it will impact and change the supply chain, let us consider 4 user cases that are emerging with early adopters in this space.