Today’s blog entry features thoughts and insights on the connected nature of Industry 4.0 and increased supply chain visibility and agility from Shay Sidner, flexis North America, Inc’s Director of Operations (pictured middle). As a respected thought-leader in the supply chain industry with more than 10 years experience in supply chain software and optimization, here Shay speaks in her own words about how Industry 4.0 connects to visibility and how this development in planning and production programs is the engine which drives modern manufacturing processes.
Ask anyone in the automotive industry about the future of artificial intelligence (AI) and you’re likely to hear one thing: Driverless cars. Yes, the development and proliferation of driverless cars or assisted driving is perhaps one of the greatest innovations on the horizon in today’s automotive manufacturing industry. Yet even so, AI has the potential to impact the automotive manufacturing supply chain in equally profound and interesting ways beyond the idea of the driverless car. In fact, AI has the potential to be a truly disruptive force in the way automotive manufacturing companies produce vehicles and how the consumer interacts with the end product.
With AI as an increasingly common technology platform, the automotive industry is set to experience significant changes in the coming years in terms of production and supply chain management. As vehicles become more integrated, individualized, and complex, manufacturing companies will have to leverage more lean methods of production and supply chain logistics to keep pace with the demands of such a variant-rich industry.
There are some terms or concepts in today’s modern supply chain management landscape that even industry insiders have difficulty defining or understanding. Whether it’s because the lack of visibility surrounding these concepts or a failure to fully embrace them as part of lean manufacturing and supply chain management, postmodern ERP is perhaps one of the most least understood or realized element of manufacturing and supply logistics. Not only does postmodern ERP have the potential to transform a company’s manufacturing and supply logistics, but it’s a key element in cutting the complexity of global supply chain management and leveraging enhanced operational functionality.
The question becomes: Why is postmodern ERP such an important value proposition for global manufacturing companies lacking visibility and understanding? What is it about postmodern ERP that proves difficult for planners and managers to embrace? What do we mean when we use the term postmodern ERP?
Fact or fiction. Trend or mindset. Fad or fixture. While Big Data has certainly permeated nearly every aspect of today’s manufacturing and supply pipeline, some industry analysts still question the validity, value proposition, and staying power of Big Data for companies as they strive to streamline their operational platforms and leverage lean manufacturing principles for optimal productivity and profitability.
First introduced to the manufacturing and supply chain landscape in the early 1990’s as a method of grouping, sorting, and analyzing large and complex data sets into executable actions. The sorting of these large, unstructured datasets gives manufacturing companies the capability to apply predictive analytics and other forward-looking logistic strategies to increase the efficacy, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness of planning and production programs.
What does risk mean in today’s automotive supply chain? Ask any planner or manager and you might get several different answers, which is in large part due to the fact risk includes a number of elements or factors. Inaccurate planning or forecasting. Lack of end-to-end (E2E) visibility. Poor job scheduling or resource allocation. Ineffective transportation management. These might seem like disparate ideas, but they all fall under the umbrella of risk in a global, interconnected supply pipeline.
But while there is no universal solution to address these risk factors, Industry 4.0 provides companies with a wide net in terms of troubleshooting or reducing instances of risk across a number of different kinds or brands. Because Industry 4.0 is a robust, holistic reinvention of more traditional manufacturing and supply conventions, companies who embrace this new platform will have a more powerful tool to combat a variety of risk factors in such a variant-rich environment.
Steam power. Henry Ford’s assembly line. Proliferation of coal-based energy. These developments in the evolution of manufacturing fundamentally changed how goods were produced and the way in which manufacturers moved products from the factory to the customer. If these were truly disruptive forces in the industrial economy, today’s producers are currently experiencing just as seismic a change in production processes in the form of Industry 4.0.
Most commonly defined as the movement of the industrial sphere to a more integrated, digital method of managing production and supply processes, Industry 4.0 is built upon the concepts of end-to-end (E2E) visibility, agility, and efficiency across each touch point in the value chain. Given the variant-rich nature of today’s manufacturing landscape, Industry 4.0 answers a common question for today’s manufacturers: How do I reduce overall operational costs while still being nimble enough to respond to unforeseen changes in planning or production programs?
When Henry Ford introduced the assembly line in 1913, he ushered in the second Industrial Revolution — and upended the automotive industry. Now a century later, thanks to the concept of Industry 4,0, the automotive industry is again making a dramatic shift. Industry 4.0 has been a boon to the automotive industry, streamlining operations and offering new business opportunities.
It may sound like something out of science fiction, but the fact is autonomous vehicles (AVs) and their mass introduction into the global market is more of a soon-to-be reality than a dream. In fact, a number of recent surveys indicate AVs could be on the road in somewhat restricted capacities within the next 5 to 10 years, with widespread adoption coming only a short time later. The development and acceptance of AVs is sure to have a sizable impact on the auto industry, especially on OEMs, suppliers, manufacturers, and others along the value chain who will have to adapt to new methods of planning, procurement, production, transportation, and delivery.
But how exactly could the introduction of AVs impact the auto industry? How will those in the automotive supply chain be forced to adapt and evolve to meet the shifting demands of tomorrow’s customer? And what might the implications be for OEMs as AVs are poised to significantly reimagine the partnerships and processes that are industry standard today?
The widespread introduction of Industry 4.0 in the automotive supply chain has been a truly disruptive force for planners and managers in rethinking how they conceive of intelligent supply chain management. With an emphasis on lean manufacturing principles, Industry 4.0 has not only pushed OEMs, manufacturers, and suppliers to adopt more streamlined planning and production practices, but it also provides companies with more holistic, robust reporting capabilities to better serve demand planning, forecasting, and modeling platforms.
Think about the idea of a blueprint. Essentially, a blueprint is set of plans designed to help carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and others in the construction industry create a building, facility, or space. The blueprint provides various players in the construction of the building with the parameters, constraints, and variables necessary to complete the job on-time and ensure the structure is in sound condition. Now, let’s think about Industry 4.0 in today’s automotive and manufacturing supply chain. By combining such existing processes or platforms like planning, production, warehousing, and transportation into a digital, integrated, Industry 4.0 is a blueprint for a completely optimized production sequence that resonates across each touch point of the value chain, from the factory floor to the customer’s door.