I have had several people ask me about “Industry 4.0” or “Supply Chain 4.0” or “Digitization” of the Supply Chain.
Notice in the video that I repeatedly said a huge part of Industry 4.0 will be taking all the “manual” processes that exist & “automating” them using “technology” so that they get done better, faster, & cheaper. That to a large extent has already happened & will continue to happen, but for mostly “tactical” stuff (not “strategic” stuff). For example, my first job in SCM 30 years ago was making sure the right stuff was at the right place, at the right time, in the right quantities, & at the right price. OK, first, that job was super “tactical” & you did not need a college degree to do it. Second, that job was a manually driven process that has since been “automated” using technology & the technology actually does it better, faster, & cheaper than a human. In fact, the technology can learn from itself using machine learning (ML) & artificial intelligence (AI).
For example, have you heard of Robotic Process Automation (RPA)? That is basically software that makes use of ML & AI to do routine manual SCM activities like process a Purchase Order. The process is manual, tactical, and clerically driven. However, that RPA software is learning from itself on how to do things better, faster, & cheaper. For example, RPA could start saying things like: I think we are paying too much, I think we should be using a different supplier, I think we are ordering in the wrong quantities, etc. The RPA software might actually decide to reopen the contract & have suppliers rebid on the business & the RPA might actually pick the new supplier. Yes, there will likely be human intervention for any activities that are “strategic”. RPA: https://lnkd.in/eQYrHUM
Simply become “data scientists” because the next few years will likely double, triple, etc., the amount of data that SCM organizations will have because of Industry 4.0. Think about that. By the time you graduate, SCM orgs will have 2-3 times more data at their disposal. The SCM professionals that will flourish will be the ones that can make sense of that data to do their jobs better, faster, and cheaper. The Business Analytics minor sets you up for success so that Industry 4.0 becomes your friend & not your replacement. Do you feel like you will be ready?
Here are some points on how to approach a new technology investment:
Will technology replace supply chain jobs? https://lnkd.in/eu7ANq6
Here is a good read on how SCM 4.0 does not have to be super expensive:
FYI: Job posting for supply chain grads…