Technology is of absolute essence in today’s time. The evolution of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) has brought about a paradigm shift in the intricacies of the industry. With newer technologies being developed, a newer revolution has been created, now termed Industry 4.0. With the Internet of Things (IoT), Blockchain and AI bringing in an era of convenience and functionality, the logistics and supply chain are not too far away from echoing the reverberations of this digital transformation. In this feature, we explore if India is ready to embrace Logistics 4.0 and what will lie ahead in its acceptance.
What is Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 is an all-encompassing term that stands for the integration of innovative information and communication technologies into the industry- creating a fourth revolution in manufacturing. Starting from the first industrial revolution (mechanization through water and steam power) to the mass production and assembly lines using electricity in the second, the fourth industrial revolution continues with the defining highlights of the third: the adoption of computers and automation and developing it with smart and autonomous systems driven by data and machine learning.
With the industry being marred by the evolution of the digital age, inbound and outbound logistics are bound to feel the ripples of the movement and adapt to this changing environment. Logistics 4.0 is a defining term that stands for the combination of logistics and innovative Information and Communication Technology (ICT). It is a technology-driven approach that is used to define Smart products and Smart Services.
This nouveau approach is the consequence of the increased use of the Internet that facilitates the communication between machines and humans in real-time, facilitated by advanced digitalization. The mark of a strong Logistics 4.0 paradigm is the strength of its parts and- these technological applications:
- Resource Planning
- Warehouse Management Systems
- Transportation Management Systems
- Intelligent Transportation Systems
- Information Security
Is the Logistics sector suited to adapt to version 4.0?
Logistics 4.0 has to be a culmination of successfully integrated performances of technological applications like ERP, Resource Planning, Warehouse Management Systems, Transportation Management Systems, Intelligent Transportation Systems and Information Security. Only then will it emerge successfully with a strong niche in terms of Industry 4.0. In order to embrace Industry 4.0 technology, the sector has to acknowledge and accept the need for a technological evolution at a breakneck speed and only then can it undergo a digital transformation vis-à-vis 4.0.
The logistics sector is a fragmented one, and hence it will require a strong policy to integrate the parts together into a whole. But in an ever-shrinking world, will India soon be on the path to adopting these technologies that have been embraced whole heartedly by the West?
Smart Logistics offers supply chain visibility and is crucial to the Indian context. With connected devices in the supply chain and intelligent asset tracking tools, smart logistics facilitates end-to-end visibility and improves the way companies transport goods, control inventory, replenish stock, and manage the retail experience. Sensor-driven asset tracking tools can provide insight at each stage of shipment, tracking moisture, heat, and vibration to give companies real-time visibility as a product moves through the supply chain.
How can organizations develop efforts to ensure their ability to securely protect their information assets and IT infrastructure so that the security of their users is not compromised?
With convenience, comes compromise. User security has been a recurrent area of concern for people across the globe. As much as we are relying upon technology, it is predominantly important to focus on ensuring user safety as well. It is crucial to safeguard the privacy and identity of users online. Hence, the prerogative lies on IT companies to ensure that the way to digitalization does not create an offshoot to compromising on security.
“IoT is one of the first high-end technologies adopted by the logistics and supply chain management sector. The industry has also started to witness different digital tools like GPS for track and trace, sensors for knowing temperature in the trucks & warehouses. Along with this, the usage of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at every step of the supply chain is expanding logistics firms’ ability to flex with peak demand.”~Vishal Sharma, CEO – Schenker India and Indian Subcontinent
“One can easily say that India is one of the biggest Industry 4.0 powerhouses. Though the implementation and reach of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Internet of Things, is limited to certain industries within the country, India’s product companies and service providers are the top implementers of these technologies worldwide.”~Dhruvil Sanghvi, CEO, LogiNext
“Industry 4.0 is slowly making inroads across these industries and verticals. While we are still at the nascent stage, efforts are being made to build a robust ecosystem which would be required to leverage the emerging technologies into the enterprise value chain. The future years will witness better implementation of Industry 4.0 models to optimize the operations to make India an advanced manufacturing hub.”~Vivekanand , Country Manager, APAC, GreyOrange
“I would say when it comes to Industry 4.0, India is at the forefront. Moreover, there are several startups in India that provide future-ready innovation. Now the thought process of an average Indian businessman as well has changed. This, in turn, has increased their willingness to invest on digitization and automation.”~Amar More, CEO, Kale Logistics Solutions
This is an abridged version of the original story published in the Logistics Insider June issue. To read the complete, unedited story, download your e-copy now.