SCM 4.0 & Industry 4.0


In essence, Industry 4.0 enables an automated creation of goods and services as well as supply and delivery, which functions largely without human intervention. Industry 4.0 is happening now (Vogel-Heuser and Hess, 2016, Sprovieri, 2019) and describes the trend toward automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies and processes which include among others cyber-physical systems (CPS), industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), cloud computing, cognitive computing and artificial intelligence (AI). Decision making is predominantly decentralized, and system elements (e.g. production plants or transport vehicles) make autonomous, targeted decisions. A digital manufacturing enterprise is not only interconnected, but also communicates, analyzes and uses information to further drive intelligent actions back into the physical world.

Industry 4.0 will change how supply chains are designed and operated, yet research on promises and impacts of Industry 4.0 on supply chain management (SCM) is still scarce. We refer to SCM in the new era of Industry 4.0 as “SCM 4.0.”

In Flex2B, many times this abbreviation will be shortened to S4.

Industry 4.0 components and SCM 4.0 characteristics

Industry 4.0 typically is declared as consisting of the following components and effects:

    • service orientation based on CPS and the internet of services
    • CPS and multi-agent systems making decentralized decisions
    • interoperability between machine and human and virtualisation of all resources
    • ability to flexible adaptation to changing requirements (cross-disciplinary modularity)
    • Big data algorithm and technologies provided in real-time (real-time capability)
    • optimization of processes due to flexible automation
    • data integration cross disciplines and along the life cycle
    • access to data securely stored in a cloud or distributed data storage