Under Industry 4.0, what changes will happen to the supply chain after robots replace humans?

Driven by Industry 4.0, along with the integration of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, and digitalization, traditional manufacturing companies have greatly improved their awareness of the supply chain and realized the importance of the supply chain. Then it will play a role in intelligent manufacturing. What effect?

The Internet of Things has made people more aware of the interconnection of all things. Facilities, inventory, transportation, information, etc. are the structure of the traditional manufacturing supply chain. The degree of interconnection determines the degree of intelligence. Therefore, the synergy of various elements drives the development of the smart supply chain to become a smart manufacturing-smart supply chain ecosystem. As an important engine, the supply chain began to support the establishment of core competitiveness of enterprises.

Intelligent manufacturing is the commanding height, breakthrough and main direction of innovation-driven, transformation and upgrading of the manufacturing industry. It needs to operate based on a smart supply chain environment. “Made in China 2025” essentially requires intelligent manufacturing foundations, intelligent products/equipment, intelligent manufacturing processes, and model transformation under intelligent manufacturing.


Smart supply chain


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The development process of the smart supply chain can basically be divided into five stages: primary supply chain, responsive supply chain, reliable supply chain, flexible supply chain and smart supply chain. In the primary supply chain stage, enterprises usually arrange production and delivery according to the budget, and there is no dedicated supply chain department to coordinate production and sales. With the development of the enterprise, a supply chain that responds to orders came into being. At this time, in addition to focusing on direct costs, it also considers customer interaction and responds quickly to customer orders. However, the supply chain structure at this stage also causes customer service. Lack of stability.

A reliable supply chain emphasizes the coordination of demand planning and business execution, pays attention to end customer needs, services and satisfaction, and comprehensively develops demand forecasting, production and sales coordination, and cross-departmental collaboration. Compared with reliable supply chains, flexible supply chains are actually fully integrated internal supply chains. This type of supply chain strategy focuses on the overall cost of the supply chain and advocates full cross-departmental coordination, flexibility and lean supply chain capabilities. Lean-Agile is an important feature of it.

Driven by demand, the smart supply chain is an end-to-end supply chain operation driven by end-demand planning and expansion. A smart supply chain emphasizes information sharing and interaction with customers and suppliers.


Driven by demand

The way of thinking of the smart supply chain must be from the point to the area, emphasizing the overall situation. Enterprises will pay more attention to the accuracy and effectiveness of customer needs. Manufacturing companies have a more sense of the times and presence. They no longer hide behind agents or corporate sales departments to passively provide products, but actively analyze and provide active services. They invite customers to develop experientially, test customer requirements, and carry out conformity testing. The integration of customer-individualized products and service models ensures the “stickiness” of the product or service to customers, which in turn promotes the iterative upgrade of products and services. At the same time, the supply chain can also perform self-feedback and self-compensation, so as to upgrade intelligently.

In the future, the smart supply chain strategy will also make enterprises pay more attention to the value-added requirements of the supply chain process, pay more attention to lean manufacturing based on the whole value chain, and place more emphasis on the platform function starting from the manufacturing enterprise. The smart supply chain starts from lean production and drives lean logistics, lean procurement, lean distribution and other links.


Realize dual-stream collaborative interaction

In the process of transformation and upgrading of the manufacturing industry, manufacturing technology and management technology grow together. The core of management technology is supply chain planning, and the information flow formed by supply chain planning and the physical flow formed by supply chain execution together constitute the value of an intelligent supply chain. The supply chain plan gives soul to intelligent manufacturing. The factory does not only have cold automation equipment, but has nerves (information transmission), pulsation (rhythm management), blood (flow control), the perfect combination of information flow and physical flow, and ultimately achieve the most efficient management objectives.

The growth path of the smart supply chain is inseparable from the collaborative interaction of logistics and information flow. According to industry insiders, a plan for smart manufacturing needs to meet the needs of production and operation and technology iteration in the next 3 to 5 years. It is necessary to clarify the development path of each stage and the requirements for step-by-step implementation.

The development direction of future logistics is “intelligent, connected, highly flexible, transparent, fast and effective”. Logistics activities need to meet the digitization and networking of the whole process, and in this process, informatization will play an important role. decisive role, especially in the application of big data.

Enterprises need to reconstruct the personalized smart strategy, sort out the strategy to achieve logic, and then analyze the market and product circulation trends to refine the differentiated competitiveness of the smart supply chain. At the same time, cooperate with the big data strategy to reconstruct the intelligent supply chain platform, and establish simulation capabilities and supply chain early warning.

Enterprises in the supply chain, especially chain owners, integrate intelligent machines, data storage and display, decision-making systems, and production facilities through virtual network-physical physical systems. Through the integration of information computing and manufacturing technologies such as the Internet of Things, service computing, and cloud computing, a smart supply chain platform is formed to realize the whole system, full life cycle, and all-round perception, interconnection, decision-making, control, and execution of software and hardware manufacturing resources and capabilities. And service, and then realize the integration, sharing, collaboration and optimization of people, machines, things and information, and finally form an ecosystem.


Where should people go?

With the promotion of Industry 4.0 and the introduction of new technologies such as 5G and artificial intelligence, downstream industrial manufacturing companies are constantly transforming production lines, optimizing business processes, and management models. With the development of modernization and intelligence, intelligent manufacturing has become a development trend, and unmanned factories will become the norm. Then the whole society will usher in a brand-new change, people, where should we go?

Digitization originated from the third industrial revolution and covers digital, physical, biological and other fields. In the digital age, automation already exists, and automation equipment can be seen everywhere in workshops and factories, but it still requires manual participation in some links and processes to assist. The fourth industrial revolution is actually a baptism and sublimation of the third industrial revolution. It will achieve full automation without human participation, such as Gree’s unmanned factory.

The production speed is greatly improved under full automation, the fault tolerance rate of products is greatly reduced, and the entire production process will become simpler. For enterprises, the more important thing is to achieve cost reduction and efficiency increase. Then under the premise of guaranteed product quality, consumers will also be able to enjoy a better product experience, and at the same time, the efficiency of transportation and distribution will also be greatly improved. In general, the era of Industry 4.0 will be a more efficient logistics system and The era of the perfect supply chain.

Industry 4.0 is a double-edged sword that promotes the transformation and upgrading of the manufacturing industry, but it also brings some problems. For example, our country is a labour-intensive country, and garment factories, electronics factories, etc. are the few choices for many ordinary workers. So after the arrival of artificial intelligence, where should they go? College students in today’s talent market are struggling, let alone these ordinary workers. The trend of technological development is definitely unstoppable, and problems are inevitable, but we cannot let them go. This is a problem that must be faced and solved in the development of the times. The real purpose of the development of science and technology is to better serve mankind. If the interests of people cannot be guaranteed, no matter how fast the development of science and technology is, it will be putting the cart before the horse.

Based on long-term development, in the face of such problems, we must face up to difficulties. In the future, it will be a trend to replace humans with machines, so it is necessary to increase the output of mental work. Therefore, it is necessary to provide more opportunities for ordinary workers to learn new skills and transform from mechanical manual workers to flexible and changeable mental workers. Only in this way can the development of society and the progress of mankind be promoted in a real sense.

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