After the first industrial revolution which involved the introduction of mechanical production, the second which took place with science and mass production, and the third which focused on digitalization, it is time for the fourth installment of the industrial revolution i.e. Industry 4.0 to make a buzz now.
What is Industry 4.0?
The fourth industrial revolution refers to the digitalization of production and manufacturing procedures. Industry 4.0 uses smart technologies such as artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, miniaturized sensors, etc. along with real-time data to increase productivity and profitability, simultaneously cutting down the costs of manufacturing.
The new concept that is taking the world by awe is a successor to the 3rd industrial revolution that bought computers in the manufacturing industry. However, unlike the 3rd industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 focuses on helping the organization to manage and succeed by ticking off what’s necessary and what’s not on their checklist.
How is Industry 4.0 supporting Organizational Supply Chain?
Industry 4.0 has been launched, keeping in mind the objective of making supply management better, faster, and more reliable. With the introduction of smarter technologies, high-end quality management systems, and real-time tracking, the 4th industry revolution shall bring a positive change to the supply chain. Let’s understand how.
Better Asset Tracking
Asset tracking has always been a primary concern across various industries, including businesses of all scales. With the technological advancements, deploying labor for asset tracking shall be reduced, facilitating transparency and elimination of manual human errors in the system. Hence, offering an improvised and on-time service delivery to the customers.
Time Efficient Deliveries
A highly managed data and supply chain network will provide a boost to organizational deliveries. The companies will be able to respond to consumers’ demands and need efficiently and easily. Reduced downtime of machines and lower losses lead to time-efficient deliveries, roping in higher profitability for the company.
Better Control & Management
Industry 4.0 brings in better transparency with its real-time data management systems. Accumulating the entire data in a single place not just reduces time investment, but also, space and other operational expenses.
Cons of Industry 4.0
Besides benefitting the supply chains of organizations, just like the flip side of a coin, there are a few possible repercussions too:
- Internet of Things (IoT) stands as a major security concern. Until packed with high-end security processes, online data management seems to be under a major data security threat.
- Workers and labors involved in IT industries adapting manufacturing 4.0 will be required to undergo specialized training to match the required skillset
- Customizable and complex production requiring non-repetitive tasks shall be a major concern as machines are not believed competent enough for customizable tasks
What does the future hold?
By far, except for a few cons, the introduction of Industry 4.0 seems to be a profitable and efficient change in the manufacturing world. As per experts, the change is expected to bring high monetary benefits for industrialists. Specialists suggest that the industry will be investing approximately USD 500 billion by 2020, and with this technology, they shall earn a value up to USD 1.28 trillion.
How Industry 4.0 correlates with product serialization?
Enforcing greater product visibility through a tech-enabled supply chain provides great support to Industry 4.0. Together, they facilitate absolute visibility not only across the entire supply chain but throughout the product lifecycle. Product serialization helps companies build an ecosystem where there is higher product traceability.
Companies can easily and conveniently track their product’s movement across the supply chain via primary and secondary linking of packages. This makes it way easier to detect territorial product diversions, and faulty returns while providing a leeway to optimize inventories. Furthermore, they help optimize process quality, and inventory planning, boost productivity and lower costs as well as reduce waste incurred due to lower awareness levels. The collection of real-time updates on activities, along with the continuous processing of aggregated data allows manufacturers to run advanced analytics and predict future trends based on historic demand-supply patterns. Thus, facilitating efficient strategic decision making.