Supply Chain Management is about to experience a renaissance
Because IT is becoming such an integral part of products and merchandise, manufacturing industry's traditional supply chains are experiencing a fundamental change. Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things are having a growing influence over how businesses organize, how they collaborate, and even over what they produce. Priorities are shifting perceptibly towards the product and the customer. In many industries, a batch size of one in a series production environment might sound fanciful; yet the trend towards individualization has long been a reality for automotive manufacturers and suppliers, the aerospace industry, electronics and high-tech, and mechanical and plant engineering companies. “Increasingly individualized products are becoming more and more important in the value chain of product development and production engineering," states the German Ministry for Economic Affairs in its position paper "Digital economy and digital workplaces: Opportunities for growth, employment, competitiveness and innovation".
Great business potential
Experts agree: The companies that will benefit are those who transform their supply chain management systems now. If production and logistics processes are comprehensively digitized, the value chain can quickly transform into a genuine value network and boost the business potential of all processes, right through to after-sales service. Autonomous production environments, highly automated logistics processes, direct communication with end-users and active customer retention – these newly modelled supply chain management processes will deliver competitive advantage sooner rather than later.
Collaboration is a success factor
No two value chains are the same. When companies start to collaborate closely in the supply chain, they generally rely on IT platforms to do so. From experience gained with a large number of projects, the supply chain management specialists at T-Systems know that manufacturers and partners from the component supply industry see collaboration in the value network as much more than merely sharing data and information. In the automotive industry, for example, what matters most is optimizing shared and intercompany processes. New technologies are expected to provide the transparency that will allow production to be networked and managed in real time. Only then will it be possible to achieve the goal of designing a production capability spread across several locations worldwide that is capable of manufacturing flexibly and efficiently according to customer needs.
IT delivers added value
Many companies are reluctant to change their supply chain management. In some ways this is understandable: integrating SCM into enterprise IT is a complex matter and smooth-running production processes appear difficult to change. On the other hand, the technical innovations that go hand in hand with the phased introduction of a smart factory cannot be delayed forever, as they hold out the promise of greatly increased competitiveness and efficiency. Supply chain management solutions from T-Systems offer exceptional value and keep the investment risk low. The solutions network, optimize and individualize the production and logistics and generate transparency throughout the company. This is how a service provider's IT can be a business enabler and make an active contribution to the corporate success.