Industry 4.0. It’s the future of industry. It will one day mean entirely digital supply chains. And it’s starting right now.
If you’re wondering ‘why should I care about supply chains?’, the answer is that they’re all around you. Every material thing we own went through a supply chain. Even our food. As a result, you probably want to know that companies are sourcing responsibly and sustainably.
Multiple technologies are changing supply chains as we know them. We’ve talked about Supply Chain 4.0 before. However, this is the advent of a new digital supply chain, and it will be the future. It’s important.
1. They’re becoming honest.
There was a time when companies could conceal their practices as they liked, and it wouldn’t be a problem. Not anymore. Consumers demand accountability – and technologies like blockchain are bringing it to them.
Blockchain allows companies and consumers to trace supply chains, beginning to end. Blockchain is a decentralised, digital ledger, similar to a database. Yes, you’re probably sick of hearing about it. But it will be the foundation of the future. So, it’s best to read up on it now.
2. They’re becoming decentralised and digital.
Gone are the days when supply chains were paper-based. Now, they’re becoming digital, decentralised, and available from anywhere.
However, blockchain isn’t the only technology changing supply chains. There’s artificial intelligence, machine learning, and even automation.
Machines are learning to take data and make conclusions and decisions all by themselves. They can predict future supply chain problems. And they can do it all in very, very short periods of time.
3. They’re up to-to-date. All the time.
Supply chains are live now. They’re faster, they’re more efficient, and they’re cheaper.
As a result of this, products can be created, distributed and delivered within a matter of days – or even hours. We’re in the era of instant indulgence. So, you can order a parcel and receive it that same day. Automation helps here; it optimises manufacturing with quicker times and better efficiency.
4. They’re smart.
Supply chains could, one day, be fully automated. Not a single human will be included in the physical process. We’re already on our way there.
Firstly, machines will make products. Secondly, they’ll be shipped through an automated system. AI will anticipate problems and plan for the future. As such, they will learn from past mistakes and become more intelligent. Third, and most importantly, they’ll be delivered to the customer in record time and with unparalleled efficiency.
5. They’re connected.
To everything. The entire supply chain can connect to each other, so you can’t lose track of any part. Automated machines that use AI can send messages to other parts of the supply chain. Moreover, blockchain can track every part – so it’s nearly impossible for information to be fabricated, deleted or changed.
We’re in the peak of the Internet of Things. One day, everything will be connected to the internet and to each other. We’re approaching that time fast.
Smartphones. Laptops. Wearables. Vehicles. Robots.
All parts of the supply chain will be able to integrate with one another, easily and efficiently.