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Understanding Supply Chain 4.0: What Are The Benefits?

Supply Chain 4.0 leverages advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the Internet of Things (IoT) to create more agile and efficient supply chains.

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For example, businesses can leverage artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies to optimize the flow of goods through their supply chain using IoT sensors to help eliminate bottlenecks and discover opportunities for improvement. Unlike manual audits, this process runs continuously without human intervention.

Businesses can build a new intelligent layer across their supply chain by utilizing these different technologies together. With the advent of private wireless, it’s now easier than ever for companies to expand this layer across their enterprise.  While new supply chain technology might feel like an optional luxury now, supply chain businesses wil need to embrace this technology to stay competitive in the near future.

Our Fourth Industrial Revolution

Supply chain 4.0 improves so many aspects of logistics and businesses it’s often referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0. This massive shift in how industries operate is akin to how steam, electricity, and computing forever changed the business landscape.

  • Industry 1.0 - Mechanized manufacturing and steam power improved productivity throughout the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
  • Industry 2.0 - Ubiquitous electricity use lays the groundwork for mass production techniques during the late 19th century.
  • Industry 3.0 - Internet-connected computers usher in globalization and the development of digital technologies during the early 2000s. 
  • Industry 4.0 - Cloud computing and AI provide new insights, automation, and data processing.

Benefits of Supply Chain 4.0

Supply chain 4.0 can provide a wide range of benefits for businesses, customers, and employees. A few examples include:

  • Increased Agility: Businesses can adapt to market changes more quickly, and pivot to customer demand faster using sales and market insights powered by AI and big data.
  • Improved Efficiency: IoT sensors and AI  allow businesses to automate and orchestrate many parts of their supply chain. IoT sensors can communicate issues in real time over ultra-low latency private wireless 4G/5G networks.
  • Better Customer Experience: Customers benefit from improved shipping times, customized orders, and timely updates about their shipments thanks to improved agility and better asset tracking with IoT.
  • Cost Savings: Technologies like AI often pay for themselves over time. These insights help forecast demand, find faster routes, and optimize production and distribution.

Supply Chain 4.0 Uses Cases

While the benefits of supply chain technology 4.0 are clear, seeing how this technology works together can sometimes be a challenge. Below are a few specific examples and use cases:

Asset Tracking

Asset tracking utilizes IoT sensors and a wireless network to uncover bottlenecks, monitor key performance indicators (KPIs), and gather data for more advanced AI-powered analytics. The technology used often depends on the use case. For example, small RFID tags can be used to scan small items on a conveyor belt, while cellular sensors help monitor shipping containers at a loading dock.

Logistics

One example of how supply chain 4.0 can improve logistics is through the use of IoT sensors and tracking devices. These devices can be attached to shipments or placed in warehouses to streamline picking and packing, allowing logistics providers to track the location and condition of goods in real time. This information can be used to optimize routes, reduce errors, and improve the visibility and transparency of the supply chain.

Predictive Analytics

A supply chain 4.0 network uses machine learning and statistical analysis to gain insights and advantages about future events. Businesses can use these analytics for demand forecasting, supply chain planning, and inventory management.

For example, companies can use predictive analytics to optimize the routing of shipments and reduce lead times. By analyzing data on factors such as weather, traffic, and capacity, a business can identify the most efficient routes and schedule deliveries accordingly.

The Backbone of Supply Chain 4.0

Supply chain 4.0 relies on predictable and continuous connectivity to work effectively. Conventional wireless networks were never designed to deliver the  reliable bandwidth or latency and deterministic connectivity required for these new technologies like autonomous vehicles and augmented reality.

Today, private wireless networks, using 4G and 5G technology, offer businesses a simple yet powerful infrastructure to support new supply chain 4.0 technologies. 5G private wireless networks give companies more options and better performance for their supply chains.

In a private wireless network, the businesses can now own, operate and control a cellular mobile network for their exclusive use, similar to how businesses own and control their Wi-Fi networks. This enables supply chains to scale flexibly and within budget. With complete control over cellular resources, enterprises can configure granular KPIs and service quality metrics for discete applications and devices. Today, this is often not possible or easily achieved through commercial third-party alternatives.

Building Your Supply Chain For The Future

Celona partners with a variety of ecosystem partners to provide supply chain 4.0 services as a seamless turnkey private wireless solution.

Celona's 5G LAN technology infrastructure can be quickly deployed throughout the facility, while proactive monitoring ensures network service level objectives, such as throughput and latency requirements, are consistently being met.

Leveraging cloud-native  networking principles inherent in 4G and 5G technology, Celona’s 5G LAN system allows enterprises to quickly and easily integrate private wireless within their existing IT network and IP domain and QoS frameworks. Onboarding can be done alongside existing wireless and IT infrastructure, without interrupting business operations.

If you're building your business for the future, Celona can help. Check out our network planner to see what your supply chain 4.0 system would look like, or test-drive the Celona Solution for yourself through our free trial or a custom demo.

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