Industry 4.0: What’s the ‘Next Big Thing’ in Manufacturing Logistics?

Industry 4.0: What’s the ‘Next Big Thing’ in Manufacturing Logistics?

Technology has changed how nearly every business operates, and manufacturers have been impacted more than most. Robotic automation has transformed the manual assembly line into a fine-tuned operation. More recently, technologies like machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) have enabled greater production efficiencies.

These technologies have ushered in a new era for manufacturing. Industry 4.0 is a term being used to describe how manufacturers are solving complexity in supply chains and facilities to increase production capacity and overcome shortages of labor and skills. As well, companies are using technologies to reduce waste and implement more sustainable processes. Their customers and partners are demanding it.

The promise of Industry 4.0 technologies is creating insatiable demand. A recent report found that sales of AI-powered technology in the U.S. manufacturing market are estimated to reach $1.2 billion in 2022 and then $7.47 billion by 2027 at a projected 44.14% CAGR.

Industry 4.0 technologies that address shipping delays have a massive impact on the customer experience and the bottom line. Manufacturers are using new developments to solve immediate and long-term supply chain challenges like sourcing critical parts and stocking quality raw materials.

Manufacturers have a variety of choices for applications that use ML and AI technology to address daily concerns and challenges. A McKinsey report on Industry 4.0 technology found opportunities to increase labor productivity by 15% to 30%; to reduce machine downtime by 30 to 50%; and to improve the accuracy of forecasting by 85%.

Solving Transportation Challenges

The benefits of Industry 4.0 are known and sought after, but implementing and scaling these technologies has proven difficult. Manufacturers have experienced delays in project timelines and have had to pause progress to tackle siloed systems, escape analysis paralysis, and navigate network complexities.

Not all Industry 4.0 technologies are so difficult to implement and scale. A similar transformation is occurring within the manufacturing shipping world to get supplies and products from point A to point B on time and without costly surprises. Increasingly, shippers are using technology that anticipates problems to change the outcome before it negatively impacts the business or its customers.

Shippers and carriers that adopt intelligent solutions of this kind can quickly reduce expenses and free up resources to address vital business challenges.

The transportation management platform (TMP) is one direction where shippers are headed with Industry 4.0 technology. Implementing the technology is straightforward. The TMP can integrate with shipper and carrier transportation management systems (TMS) to provide users at every level with intuitive dashboards to make intelligent decisions and communicate more easily in real time.

How a TMP Works for Manufacturers

By connecting to separate systems used by carriers and shippers, a TMP provides both types of companies with a singular user experience (UX) and user interface (UI), powered by integrated workflows and an embedded AI-powered engine to assist with load planning to reach higher levels of efficiency and profitability.

TMP technology uses statistical models, real-time analysis, and algorithms to automatically find patterns in data and deliver instant recommendations. For example, fleets looking to optimize driver time and minimize empty miles can quickly and easily identify which drivers are closest to a load and assign it to them. Algorithms can also consider driver availability, appointment times, and other unique variables to optimize an entire network, in a matter of seconds.

Whereas a traditional model for TMS deployment is monolithic and siloed, a TMP leverages a software-as-a-service (SaaS) architecture with new features and data integrations that enable shippers to work more efficiently with carriers within their existing transportation management software (TMS) platforms. Shippers can significantly improve how they plan, execute, and match freight by having better visibility into assets from carriers to source capacity, to automate shipment tracking, and to create other efficiencies that deliver mutually beneficial outcomes.

Manufacturers looking to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies should be considering their end-to-end supply chain, including shipping and transporting raw materials to factories and finished products to the end-customer. The TMP is one of many solutions that are readily available today for ironing out inefficiencies between shippers and carriers to optimize manufacturing supply chains.

Interested in discovering more about the latest breakthroughs available for shippers from a TMP? Request a demo and let’s chat.