The fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0), including the Internet of Things, is impacting not just manufacturing, but the discipline of logistics, and distribution centers, as well. A recent Deloitte University Press article, “Industry 4.0 and distribution centers—Transforming distribution operations through innovation,” explores the implications.
Industry 4.0 is evolving the distribution center, authors Alan Taliaferro, Charles-Andre Guenette, Ankit Agarwal and Mathilde Pochon say.
Beyond manufacturing and smart factories, advanced technology is improving the efficiency with which the finished product is moved, warehoused and distributed.
Further still, “Industry 4.0 technologies can also have an impact beyond the confines of the facility, by collecting large amounts of operational data and making it available to the up- and downstream supply chain.”
The benefits of Industry 4.0 move readily beyond the smart factory, improving operations planning and providing the R&D and business planning teams with valuable product information.
Key impacts for distribution centers include reduced risk and improved productivity, by maximizing asset utilization, reducing downtime and delays, and reducing direct and indirect labor costs.
Of course, none of this comes for free. Adoptive organizations need new human talent, such as highly skilled engineers and analysts to operate automated systems. And the growing number of complex, connected, devices exponentially increases the amount of data that must be managed, an impetus for sourcing advanced analytical tools, and, probably, analysts to employ them.
Read the entire whitepaper, including the authors’ strategic recommendations, on Deloitte’s website.