While there is wide recognition that technology and innovation will play a key role in the future of the supply chain, the industry in many ways is still at the beginning stage of adoption for launching the next revolution.
The question really is: “How are we really leveraging the Internet and the data that’s out there?” says Jim Barnes, ISM Services managing director, in Industry 4.0: Technology-Driven Change.
The tools exist – in the form of sensors and RFID, among others – to constantly collect data at all levels of production and delivery. But using them effectively requires a shift in mindset, as well as investment in the right tools, Barnes says.
Many distributors still view procurement as a tactical job rather than a strategic role, he says, which means they are still focused on just filling the orders rather than working smarter and strengthening partnerships.
“There’s a real challenge with strategic relationships between buyers and suppliers still,” Barnes says. There’s still too much of a focus on immediate returns and not the long-term benefits of working together to bring something truly new to the market.
Read more about the role technology and data will play in the next industrial revolution in Industry 4.0: Technology-Driven Change.