Redefining Industry 4.0: Technology, Convergence & Prioritization for Smarter Supply

The Industry 4.0 revolution describes the trend of utilizing modern smart technology to drive ongoing automation across traditional manufacturing

2020, for many business leaders, will be remembered as the year in which the fragility of the global supply chain was laid bare. The onset of Covid-19 early in the year and the impact that this had at the core of GVC hubs such as China, Europe and the US has sent ripples across supply networks worldwide and consequently, the scrutiny that the supply network is under within the modern business has never been higher.

We live in uncertain times subject to certain change and as such there has never been a greater opportunity for executives to iterate and question their existing supply chain infrastructure & focus.

By effectively redefining industry 4.0 via technology, convergence & prioritization for smarter supply, managing people and process by empowering employees and integrating technology and revolutionizing the last mile with disruptors, logistics and optimization, supply chains can more efficiently shield themselves from the looming threat, whilst moving towards the future and beyond.

Industry 4.0 redefinition

The Industry 4.0 revolution describes the trend of utilizing modern smart technology to drive ongoing automation across traditional manufacturing and industrial practices. Over the last few months, it has become pivotal that supply and value chain leaders apply these innovative solutions across their distribution network, moving them from aspiration to requisite.


Successful digitization can only occur once you have the technological infrastructure to support it and to this end, big brands such as McDonalds, Unilever, and Cisco have renovated both their hardware and software systems in order to deliver valuable changes across their operations and territories.

Software Technologies – describe the processing programs that help a supply chain to streamline the data, applications, and day-to-day connections between different stages of the supply chain.

Hardware Technologies – describe the technological tools which help to advance the equipment used across the supply chain.


These technologies as well as new business realities and cultural readiness will help suppliers to finally realize the convergence of supply-chain planning and execution. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software helped to initiate this change, but it is with the advent of modern supply-chain management (SCM) software that convergence of the supply chain can feasibly become a reality.

The SCM software platform helps staff to manage multiple ecosystems continuously in real time. As discussed above, typically, the supply chain has been disrupted by external threats – issues with channel partners, suppliers, or outsourced manufacturers. SCM software can predict the impact of external events and react accordingly, effectively unifying, or converging the supply chain.


With the assistance of more powerful technological tools and greater convergence across the network, suppliers can start to make more informed decisions around their approach to supply and demand prioritization across all of their markets. Being able to effectively prioritize the goods you are sending out and when was important before Covid-19, now it is essential.

We have seen violent oscillations in consumer demand between lockdown and the subsequent reopening efforts and, as such, it pays dividends to know when to contract and expand accordingly. Businesses like Apple, Walmart and Johnson & Johnson wield some of the more impactful supply chain operators worldwide and this is down to their ability to predict the needs of the end-user, when they’ll want products and how to cater to them.

How does the redefining of Industry 4.0 Help Your Business ?

  • Efficient optimization and visibility across the supply chain
  • Enhancing customer communication
  • Increased collaboration between supply chain partners
  • More effective order tracking and delivery
  • Decrease in negative cost effects


However, this is just one of the three key solutions mentioned above that a supply chain might employ to quickly respond to the threat posed by the coronavirus whilst also future-proofing their business for years to come.

To learn more, download the full report here or continue the debate at NG Supply Chain Summit, a GDS Summit, where we bring together senior supply chain executives who are actively seeking to share, learn, engage, and find the best technology solutions.

GDS Group hosts experts to help experts. We strive to provide an atmosphere for our attendees that enables them to confidently lead their companies through major transformation projects. For information on upcoming events, view our view our Digital Summits. To remain current on our activities, visit GDS Group on LinkedIn Facebook | Twitter.