Impact of “Industry 4.0” on logistics
The environment surrounding manufacturing and distribution industries is changing. “Omni-channel”, which offers more customer-oriented shopping experiences, provides multiple options for, such as, how to purchase and receive goods, location to pick up, and payment method. As the result, competition in the service quality in the area called “last mile”, where companies make direct contact with customers, determines survival of companies. In such areas, speed and complexity of logistics, such as “frequency and small lot delivery” and “same-day delivery”, are demanded.
Particularly, “Industry 4.0” and “omni-channel” seem to have a large impact on the logistics industry. Transformation of manufacturing industry caused by “Industry 4.0” leads to the end of single-product mass production era and the start of customized-product mass production era.
So far, information was shared and functions were divided among the systems having the same function.
However, these can be centrally managed throughout the supply chain:
–A system for supplying products to the market at a low cost is established by understanding customer needs in real time, feeding back such information to the factory, creating prototypes according to the customer needs with a resin 3D printer, and performing a quick change in the production line or set-up accordingly–
So, it is said that “modularization” of production is accelerated. Products are divided into modules according to the function, and these modules are standardized. Moreover, even production equipment and processes will be standardized based on the standardized modules. Thus, a large quantity of customized products will be supplied to the market with shorter lead time as the manufacturing industry itself becomes process industry due to IoT.
The supply chains will be global and complex from the effect of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and physical transportation of goods is becoming more and more difficult and important.
Nevertheless, next-generation retailers, which have both real stores and online stores and adopt omni-channel strategy, promote a distribution policy focusing on the convenience of consumers by offering “frequent and small lot distribution”, “same-day delivery”, and “diverse locations for delivery” because customer preference as to products becomes diversified.
With the drastic innovations in next-generation manufacturing and distribution industries, logistics industry will be demanded to improve “speed”, “accuracy” and “quality” through digital transformation more than ever.
The time has come when logistics industry needs to seek for the best solution in the trend of overall supply chain innovation.