Since the 1800s, we have experienced three industrial revolutions. Each was powered by a disruptive new technology: the mechanics of the steam engine, the innovation of the assembly line, and the speed of the computer. The reason they were called industrial “revolutions” was because the innovation that drove them didn’t just improve productivity and efficiency a little bit – it completely revolutionized how goods were produced and how work was done.
We are now in the Fourth Industrial Revolution, aka Industry 4.0, which takes the automation and computerization we saw in the Third Industrial Revolution into the future. Industry 4.0 is powered by the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and cyber-physical systems – smart, autonomous systems that use computer-based algorithms to monitor and control physical things like machinery, robots, and vehicles. Industry 4.0 makes everything in your supply chain “smart” – from smart manufacturing and factories to smart warehousing and logistics. But Industry 4.0 doesn’t stop at the supply chain. It inter-connects with back-end systems, like enterprise resource planning (ERP), to give companies an unprecedented level of visibility and control. Ultimately, Industry 4.0 is a major part of any company’s digital transformation.