If you believe some experts – like McKinsey, for example – the current generation is about the full digitization of the supply chain. (McKinsey labels it supply chain 4.0, but others aren’t waiting; they’re already moving on to generation 5.0. Whatever you think of the current generation, we can agree that it means true digitization of the supply chain from end to end, and includes technologies such as Internet of Things (often called IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence analytics, and – notably for our purposes – the application of sensors such as low-cost RFID tags, all of it floating in a big data lake.
These disruptive technologies share a common purpose: to capture and channel data in newer and better ways. Supply chains have always been about data (and the calculations and analysis that can be derived from that data), and fully digitized supply chain represents better, faster, and more agile ways of capturing and using data.
Here’s how Price Waterhouse Coopers envisions it: “With the advent of the digital supply chain, silos will dissolve and every link will have full visibility into the needs and challenges of the others. Supply and demand signals will originate at any point and travel immediately throughout the network. Low levels of a critical raw material, the shutdown of a major plant, a sudden increase in customer demand — all such information will be visible throughout the system, in real time.”
It’s a grand vision. And while it isn’t happening overnight, it is achievable – perhaps faster than you might believe possible. Because simple, easy to implement, and relatively low-cost solutions like RFID tagging, serialization, returnable transport items, and asset management technologies are easily within your grasp, and they can yield enormous benefits as you continue your advance towards a fully digitized supply chain.
Talk to ACSIS about your journey to the next generation – fourth, fifth, or beyond – your journey to the fully digitized supply chain. We can help you get there, one manageable and measured step at a time.