Industry 4.0 is coming to the extended supply chain. Over the coming decade, innovations like predictive analytics, 3D printing, and wearable technologies will change the supply chain even as workforce shortages intensify. Customer demands and competition are the driving forces, according to the 2015 MHI Annual Industry Report, “Supply Chain Innovation — Making the impossible possible.” MHI, an international trade association that represents the material handling, logistics and supply chain industry, produced the report with Deloitte Consulting.
The gist of the report is that new technology will spread across traditional supply chains, changing them radically over the next five to 10 years. On average, companies surveyed expect to invest heavily in new technologies over the next two years, with the top 17% spending more than $10 million.
MHI has recommended that companies should embrace the supply chain transformation quickly, investing in new technologies as they face constant pressure to do more with less. “The speed at which supply chain innovation is being adopted — coupled with rising consumer expectations for anytime, anywhere service — is stressing traditional supply chains to near-breaking points,” said George Prest, CEO of MHI, in a statement about the report. “Companies that continue to use traditional supply chain models will struggle to remain competitive and deliver orders that are accurate and on time.”
The survey focused on eight technologies driving next-generation supply chains:
- Inventory and network optimization tools
- Sensors and automatic identification
- Cloud computing and storage
- Robotics and automation
- Predictive analytics
- Wearable and mobile technology
- 3D printing
- Driverless vehicles and drones
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