For the vision of Industry 4.0 to be realized, the most important factor in doing so would be the complete overhaul and digitization of the entire enterprise process. Digitization has to be implemented at all levels from manufacturing, product development, customer relations and the workplace itself, leading to the digitization of the entire supply chain.
At present, the functioning of the supply chain can be regarded as a series of relative discretion, with all departments such as marketing, product development, manufacturing, and distribution, working to achieve a common aim in isolation with each other. With the digitization of the supply chain, all the above-mentioned functions would act in a symbiotic manner and each member involved such as the supplier of raw inputs, to the transporter of the inputs and finished goods and last but not least the customer demanding the supplies.
Effectiveness and efficiency of such a symbiotic network cannot be maintained without the help of key technologies such as integrated planning and execution systems, logistics visibility, autonomous logistics, smart procurement and warehousing, spare parts management and advanced analytics. With these key technologies in place, companies will be able to better react, as well as predict disruptions within the supply chain. Creation of “what if” scenarios would help companies respond to real-time changes in the supply chain network and adjust accordingly.
For a successful digital transformation of the existing supply chain, and to reap the full benefits of it, would require the development an orderly process for implementing and integrating the many new technologies and capabilities required.
Mentioned below are some steps that will ultimately lead to a digitized supply chain:
- Lay an Ideal foundation: Assess whether your business strategies and, visions are ripe enough for digitization, if not, identify areas of improvement.
- Frame your plan of action: Govern the maturity level of your target audience, followed by the design and, development of a blueprint, best optimized to achieve the desired goal.
- Chalk-out a Powerful Trajectory: Settle on the necessary implementation steps and work them into a detailed roadmap.
Organisations that will thrive in building a completely digital comprehensive supply chain will gain a difficult-to-challenge edge above others in the contest to Industry 4.0, and be able to set, or at least influence, technical principles for their specific industry. Moreover, the advantage will by no means be confined to the greater efficiencies. The actual goal will be the plethora new business models and revenue streams the digital supply chain will open up.
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