Currently, we are leaving behind the achievements and significant changes brought by digital automation through electronics and IT. We are now at the beginning of the fourth and new phase of the Industrial Revolution: Industry 4.0 and Logistics 4.0. In today's rapidly changing logistic world, Logistics Reply positions itself as an active player by adopting the evolving technological and modelling innovations and
by accompanying clients through the digital transformation process. This process brings changes that are mostly technological, but there are also novelties in organisation and culture, as well as new paradigms in application conception.
INDUSTRY 4.0 & INTERNET OF THINGSThe basic principle of Industry 4.0 consists of linking machines, task parts and systems to create intelligent networks across the whole value chain. These enable the mutual and autonomous control of each part.Here are a few examples: machines that can predict malfunctions and automatically trigger maintenance processes, or self-organised logistics systems reacting autonomously to unexpected production changes. Hence Industry 4.0 is the means of achieving a value chain organisation model based on the technological concepts of the so-called
Internet of Things and
Internet of Services. While cyber-physical systems monitor physical processes, create a virtual copy of the physical world and make decentralised decisions, the Internet of Things enables them to allow real-time communication and cooperation between objects and people. Lastly, the Internet of Services offers internal services and cross-organisations to value chain players.
DESIGN PRINCIPLESThis model for understanding the new value chain management organisation is based on the following design principles:•
Scalability. The flexible adaptation of Smart Factories to changing circumstances, with the substitution or expansion of individual modules
Service orientation. Service offer (of cyber-physical systems, humans or Smart Factories) via the Internet of Services
Decentralisation. The ability of cyber-physical systems to make autonomous decisions within Smart Factories
Real-time. The ability to collect and analyse data and immediately provide the instructions arising from them.
Virtualisation. The creation of a virtual copy of the Smart Factory by linking sensor data (gathered from monitoring physical processes) to virtual plant and simulation models
Interoperability. The ability of cyber-physical systems (task part carriers, assembly stations and products), people and Smart Factories to connect and communicate with each other via the Internet of Things and the Internet of Services.
The digitalisation of logistics opens up new possibilities for increasing efficiency in production and thus offers an entry into the Industrie 4.0. EHRLE GmbH connects four locations in Germany and Great Britain via a central warehouse management system where it also integrates a newly established production facility, which is oriented towards the most advanced production principles. Reply extended the Click Reply Warehouse Management solution with decisive functions to support the lean processes in production.
Tim Geißen (Fraunhofer IML) explains how the 4th Industrial Revolution - based on cybernetic systems capable of making autonomous decisions and characterised by
automation - will lead to profound changes in manufacturing and in supply chain processes. Tim Geißen, intralogistics and storage expert business analyst, works at the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (Germany) – the biggest European association for logistics applied research and consultancy. He manages the “Warehouse Logistics team” and helps businesses to select and implement Warehouse Management Systems.
Domenico Piantelli, Reply Senior Partner, describes how – within the new industrial trend leading to the transformation of production and distribution processes, new business models and a new idea of information systems – Reply sees the new generation of supply chain applications, in which there are a few essential key elements, such as: event driven, IoT and machines integration, data as central decision-supporting elements, close interoperability, app-isation and micro-services.