Supply Chain 4.0 means the use of recent technologies on supply chain management, that being internet of things, robotics, or big data. The network is completely automatic, improving performance. 

The 4.0 context creates the necessity to industries apply new technologies and techniques that empowers digital supply chain models. This new business model is faster and more flexible.  

What changes in Supply Chain 4.0? 

Of course, the first big change is the introduction of technologic means. From the transportation to the possibility to use software to monitor operations, every step is possible to maximize efficiency with digital solutions. 

As mentioned, another relevant aspect is the automation of the whole system. On this new context, humans have less tasks than before, focusing on strategic points while machines do the repetitive functions. 

Both combined will lead to a reduction on costs because it minimizes mistakes and improve stock management. Therefore, it also reduces possibilities of stockout or excessive stock. 

But this new context has its own challenges, and managers must be able to deal with them. 

Challenges of Supply Chain 4.0 

If professionals aren’t prepared to deal with the advances of technology, that will be wasted. So, managers must be active and understand their process to set right expectations and strategies. 

Among the most common challenges of installing digital assets on supply chain are: 

  • Volume of Data: digital assets and analysis needs a lot of data. Its common for companies that aren’t digitalized yet to not maintain a good registry, but it’s fundamental to the functionality of digital supply chain to keep records of everything. 
  • Qualify Professionals: with new dynamics, you need professionals that can handle digital tools and tasks. Also, since machines assumed more repetitive tasks, they need to act in a strategic way, making decisions based on the complete operation. 
  • Choosing Tools: before jumping into the new paradigms of supply chain, management must conduct a thorough study of their needs and possibilities to find tools that are compatible with what they need. 

Now that we passed trough some challenges of adapting your operations to the digital world, we need to see the benefits you get from it when the implementation is done right. 

The benefits of technology

As we said, digitalizing your operation will reduce impact of mistakes and consequently costs. But how can those tools make your supply chain more profitable? 

Firstly, the time expend on minor tasks will be lowered, so professionals will be able to focus on finding new opportunities and fixing strategic problems. For instance, if employees control warehouse, they lose a lot of time. Digital tools can: 

  • Receive. 
  • Inspect. 
  • Manage. 
  • Separate. 
  • List. 
  • Generate documents. 

If all that process is by software, that will also facilitate registry and consequently aggregate data to make even better processes.  

This data collect will impact the whole company and operations. You can share trough the whole supply chain and access in real time. So, reacting to problems in process is faster. 

An analysis of that data will also reveal customer behavior, making ordering more effective, since you can foresee better what your clients are consuming the most. 

The Future with Supply Chain 

Digital Innovation makes the Supply Chain more efficient, supported by intelligent planning that takes into account data analysis. 

Increasingly, technological advances are a part of business decisions. When it comes to Supply Chain, different types of technologies can improve results. Technologies that contribute the most to the industry are: 

  • Data analysis (41%) 
  • Internet of Things (39%) 
  • Cloud Computing (39%) 

But not only that, the market is interested in information security, predictive analysis, mobile applications, 3D printing, robotics, blockchain, among others. With this wide scope of action, economists believe that the global income related to SCM will reach $ 8.5 billion dollars by 2022. 

Based on this, companies that seek to remain competitive should invest more and more in technological processes and data driven. 

Bearing in mind technological and industry advances, companies and professionals who want to remain competitive must seek improvement. We have seen that this applies to small to large companies. With good planning and considering the possibilities of the supply chain, business will prosper.

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