Speaking of Industry 4.0 means talking about the fourth Industrial Revolution, and as a logical consequence, the logistics sector has been experimenting in parallel for some time its own revolution, which leads us to talk about the concept of Logistics 4.0, but what is Industry 4.0?
We could define Industry 4.0 as the digitization process of the industrial sector, which ranges from the digitization of information to the physical elements. In this way, a transformation is taking place in the “classic” systems of production, which leads to a more integral digitalization. When we refer to the digitalization of the physical (also known as the Internet of things and fundamental aspect of Industry 4.0) we are assuming that products, machines, factories, goods, warehouses, vehicles, etc. they are interconnected with each other and do not accept to work autonomously.
This process gives rise to the creation of new networks where the division between the physical and the information will tend to be grouped in technological developments such as Business Intelligence, Big Data and Big Data Analytics, it is an obvious fact that the vision of the Industry 4.0 confronts the traditional logistics sector in the face of new challenges. The conventional methods and systems of management currently used, are reaching their maximum limits and consequently, being subjected to new approaches.
For this reason many of the current production systems are destined to their disappearance or to their marginal use, such as the traditional information exchange systems such as email, telephone or fax, thanks to the new programming we can guarantee that the production is more personalized, The management of shipments is carried out more efficiently in accordance with demand forecasts, a reduction in stocks and storage, optimization of routes, geolocation systems and knowledge of the location and traceability of merchandise, etc. For all the above, Industry 4.0 is demanding a parallel development in the logistics sector and this is giving rise to the concept of Logistics 4.0.
At present, innovative solutions are already coming into play that are being used in the logistics sector: smart labeling, use of ICT, GPRS and 3G modems, RFID. In addition, they are implementing innovations applied to the field of logistics: use of low power networks (which allow to sensor the pallets), web browsers or apps, etc., all these innovations will lead to the generation of new data, which will be managed and they will try through Big Data. This will involve the generation of new applications and platforms that will simplify the interconnection of the entire service and protagonists of the supply and transport chain in a simpler way.
Finally, the supply chain and the logistics sector must adapt these innovations and be incorporated into this new logistics that revolutionizes the way of producing, storing and selling new customers and we must all prepare ourselves for the new challenge that implies the adoption of the logistics 4.0 and survive the new digital business models of the future.
Author: Luis Aníbal Mora, High Logistics General Manager