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Implications of Supply Chain 4.0

Supply & Demand Chain Executive – by Joe Vernon

As sensors, monitors and smart devices proliferate and robust data sets are matched with machine learning and AI, we will move further inside the consumer’s mind to meet their needs and desires.

Who would have imagined that in 2021, you could tell a smart device to purchase items that would arrive at your doorstep 45 minutes later without using a physical form of payment? This convenient advancement in technology shows how the supply chain has shifted from a mostly physical movement of goods to a blended arrangement among orders, payment and delivery models—all focused on customer experience.

In 2016, McKinsey & Company published a forward-looking article on Supply Chain 4.0 that listed the Internet of Things (IoT), automation, advanced analytics, big data and robotics as change agents for the new way of conducting business. These technologies would focus on customer convenience, increased visibility, more efficient processes, predictive analytics and cost reduction.

Fast forward to 2021, when the pandemic battered the supply chain and reframed product availability and home delivery—all powered by e-commerce and digital transactions. While countries went into lockdown, many consumers turned to product delivery services that offered instant digital transactions and same-day delivery. This convenience and speed have become the new normal. There are three main technical components that made this capability possible and hold the keys to the future -- integration, analytics and automation. Here’s how their role is changing the landscape of customer experience.

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