The technological transformation is occurring at an unprecedented pace. What was expected to happen by 2035 is in process now. Industry 4.0 has taken manufacturing and supply chain by storm. Executives are realizing that they must upgrade their technological infrastructure to thrive in 2021. Which technologies are gaining momentum in supply chain and logistics?
According to clients, colleagues and experts, here are a few of the top technologies to evaluate:
- Virtual Reality: Not only is virtual reality improving safety but it enables product and process design, data and process visualization and experience-based learning. In our recent interview with Paul Granillo, CEO of the IEEP, he mentioned that Loma Linda is training their nursing staff using VR.
- Robots & Cobots: Robots are taking over more and more repetitive tasks for manufacturers and distributors. It solves the COVID requirement to stand 6 feet away from a co-worker; however, this is simply a side benefit. One of our clients developed a robot that could run throughout the night on a critical process so that they could keep up with customer demand and alleviate the workload on their high-skilled resource who focused attention on setups during the first shift.
- Drones: These are no longer a pipe dream. The FAA is coming under pressure to review the use of drones as the advantages are mounting. UPS uses drones as big as cars to deliver medicine in Africa. Warehouses are using drones for cycle counting. Railroads are using drones to check on tracks. It is moving from an Amazon concept into reality.
- Autonomous vehicles: Autonomous vehicles are gaining traction in trucking. The technology exists to tether 3 tractor-trailer trucks together six feet apart on the highway. If an issue arises, they can separate, avoid the issue and come back together. This process will require 1 driver for 3 trucks, eliminating 2 jobs; however, a team of 8-10 is required to make the technology work. It will change the landscape. Autonomous trains are also coming!
- Warehouse automation: Automation has surged in popularity. WMS systems, conveyor automation and advanced technologies are increasing.
- Business Intelligence: What could be more important than having the information at your finger tips to make decisions? Analyzing trends, slicing and dicing data, and predictive analytics are trending.
What are your plans for advancing technology in your supply chain? Evaluate which technology fits your strategic direction and best supports your customer requirements and profitability objectives. If you are interested in assessing your supply chain technology and developing a roadmap and path forward, contact us to discuss your situation and objectives.
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Digital is Key to Manufacturing in 2021