How to Evolve to Logistics 4.0 from Logistics 3.0

Nov 06, 2020 | 42Gears Team

Did you know that the fourth industrial revolution is happening right now? Logistics management is at the very heart of Industry 4.0, and if you work in logistics, you have a choice to make. You can evolve the way you handle logistics and supply chain management, or you can fall behind competitors who do.

Let’s see what is changing, and why this matters for your firm. Then, you’ll learn what you can do to quickly get started evolving your firm at low cost.

What is Industry 4.0 and Logistics 4.0?

Of course, the first industrial revolution took place well over 200 years ago. Steel and electricity helped bring about a second revolution, and in the mid-20th century, digital technology triggered a third revolution, resulting in what is known as Industry 3.0.

If industry 3.0 concerns digital technology, then Industry 4.0 refers to connected digital technology. Thanks to input from Internet of Things (IoT) devices, machines can now make and act on decisions without any human intervention involved. In turn, this gives rise to Logistics 4.0 – the use of connected digital technology in the logistics industry.

Connected digital devices are reshaping logistics and supply chain management, but what does this mean in practice? Let’s find out.

Why does this matter for logistics management?

Logistics 4.0 relies on smart devices throughout the supply chain to “talk” to each other, optimizing efficiency while minimizing the risk of human error.

Here’s a very basic example of Logistics 4.0 in action. Imagine that a retail chain places goods on “smart shelves” that can sense how many items they hold. Then, the shelves report inventory to a central dispatching system, which calculates the most efficient way for truck drivers to get supplies where they are most needed.

As you can see, time-consuming and error-prone parts of the logistics process (such as counting inventory) are automated. Then, firms can rely on machine-driven analytics to make better choices in less time.

If your firm cannot harness connected devices, you will not use your resources as efficiently as those that can.

What does it take to achieve Logistics 4.0?

Of course, in order to use connected smart devices for logistics management, you need to own connected smart devices. This means the primary barricade to Logistics 4.0 is cost.

Unfortunately, gradually investing in new devices isn’t a viable option. In order for Logistics 4.0 to work, every sensor, machine, and device needs to connect to a central network. If some devices do, but others don’t, this network is not comprehensive.

This is particularly frustrating for firms that rely on decade-old printers, battery chargers, and other devices. It is hard to justify replacing things when they still work.

Things Management – An Alternative to Buying New Devices

Thankfully, there is a way to bring older devices into a connected network. At 42Gears, we recognize the difficult situation logistics firms face in regards to Logistics 4.0, and we have created something called Things Management Technology to help.

Things Management Technology empowers logistics firms through the use of a small piece of software called a “Things Connector.” Firms can insert Things Connectors into devices (like printers) that were not built with network connectivity in mind. From there, anyone can use 42Gears’ device management software (called SureMDM) to remotely receive data from, and send commands to, each device.

Does Things Management work with every device?

There are so many devices used in the logistics industry that 42Gears could not hope to make a Things Connector for each one. However, 42Gears has found a solution that allows Things Management Technology to help any company.

42Gears has made the tools needed to code Things Connectors publicly available on its website. This means you can code the Things Connectors you need for the devices your firm relies on. You can also ask for 42Gears to help you create new Things Connectors.

Additionally, 42Gears includes Things Management Technology in its licenses of SureMDM. This means that in one purchase, your organization gets Things Connectors, the tools to develop them, and a hub to manage devices running Things Connectors.

Conclusion

At first glance, the transition from digital devices to connected digital devices may not seem significant. But it has a huge impact- so huge, in fact, that it’s causing the fourth industrial revolution.

Even logistics firms who want to purchase new replacements for every “Logistics 3.0” device likely cannot afford to replace every device. This is where Things Management Technology comes in, by giving old devices new life via connectivity with other devices.

If you would like to try Things Management Technology for yourself, you can do it for free. 42Gears offers a 30-day trial of SureMDM, giving you a month to try Things Management and see how it can help your organization.

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