Whether you know it as the “fourth industrial revolution” or industry 4.0, there is no denying that a fundamental shift in the supply chain is changing the way manufacturing and distribution industries operate. These sectors must undertake major digital transformations to remain competitive. Most strategies go beyond simple automation and straightforward technology implementation. A recent article by Deloitte breaks down the variety of digital platforms and infrastructures associated with Industry 4.0. These innovations vary from 3D printers and sensor technologies to telepresence robotics and global connectivity systems.
Leading senior executives know that implementing digital improvements to business processes is the key to growth. Most are already integrating machine learning or wearable technologies, or have these transformation methods on their strategic digital roadmap.
Artificial intelligence/robotized supply chain
The automation of the supply chain is not a new revelation. Manufacturers and distributors have been implementing robotic process automation (RPA) solutions to allow for more advanced processing for some time. RPA uses extensive parallel processing power, advanced algorithms and massive data sets to process tasks. Robotizing key business processes requires minimal human intervention, optimizing efficiency and allowing staff to be refocused on profit generating tasks. Supply chain executives have already started implementing RPA or are planning to invest in this technology due to its overall scalability of productivity.
From voice command technology linking to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software that manages inventory, to smart glasses that assist in picking and eliminating visual search, wearable technology is beneficial to many areas of the supply chain business. With a warehouse productivity increase of 30%, it is clear why this process has seen such a dramatic increase in usage over the past few years.
Artificial Intelligence and Wearable Technology are seen as pillars of digital transformation. An upgrade of legacy platforms was critical to the implementation of these innovations. IT infrastructure now requires connectivity and collaboration with immediate access and processing. Companies that are integrating digital transformations have to first upgrade to cloud-based platforms to operate in this digital ecosystem.