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HIGHER EDUCATION: Intralogistics 4.0 as Part of the Efficient Supply Chain


An important part of the logistics function is the production and warehouse activity that takes place within the four walls of a facility called intralogistics.

* By Tone Lerher, University of Padova, Italy * 

The Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals has defined logistics as “… that part of supply chain management that plans, implements, and controls the efficient, effective forward and reverse-flows, and the storage of goods, services and related information between the point of origin and the point of consumption in order to meet customers’ requirements.”

An important part of this logistics function is the production and warehouse activity that takes place within the four walls of a facility called intralogistics.

The Industrial Internet Consortium, Smart Manufacturing Leadership Coalition, European Factories of the Future Research Association, Industry 4.0 and Made in China 2025 emphasize the importance of intralogistics and what Intralogistics 4.0 should look like.

There are many reasons why Intralogistics 4.0, as part of the fourth industrial revolution, is essential for today’s industry. The first is the complexity of supply chains due to globalization and the high degree of interconnected logistics networks. Second is the amount and complexity of the data generated by digital supply chains. Third, the complexity of products, where demand for individuality is growing, and “batch size one” is becoming the norm. Additionally, complexity through consumer digital interaction in more open and interconnected systems.

Intralogistics 4.0 follows Industry 4.0 by implementing several technical solutions that create greater efficiencies including: auto identification systems, sensors, robotics, smart vehicles, human-centered workstations and autonomous vehicles.

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Emerging technologies such as IIoT, robotics and artificial intelligence provide exciting opportunities for supply chains. They also mean an exponential growth in the amount of data these supply chains generate. When properly utilized, this data can provide crucial information to improve efficiency, reduce costs, enhance transparency and customer service. But it comes with risk. The more digitized a supply chain becomes, the more it is at risk of cyberattack. Hackers are constantly finding new ways create data breaches they can exploit. The reality that most supply chains require third-party suppliers down the chain only heightens this threat. No matter the scale of your supply chain, it is essential to have solid cybersecurity processes in place to manage and mitigate the growing risk of cyberattack. That’s what this issue of MHI Solutions is all about, from cybersecurity threats in an IIoT world to dark data to the human factor in cybersecurity to blockchain as a potential solution.
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