In the modern world, companies are constantly looking for ways to improve their operations and increase their effectiveness. The concept of Smart Supply Chains is relatively new and has gained traction in recent years as companies try to stay ahead of the competition. Smart Supply Chains are a type of supply chain management system that uses advanced technology and automated data analysis methods to optimize the flow of goods and services from suppliers to consumers.

Historically, there are three major industrial revolutions: the first with the invention of the steam engine, the second with the discovery of the conveyor belt and the generalization of the use of electricity, and the third with the digital revolution and the computerization of processes. Based on these facts, we speak today of the Industry 4.0 concept, which refers to all those technologies that are bringing industry closer to complete automation, making use of intelligent systems, interconnectivity, robotics and data science.

In this sense, SCM 4.0 (Supply Chain Management 4.0, Supply Chain Management 4.0) or Smart Supply Chains are the logistics networks that communicate the material production processes with different software. In this way, they enable analysis, simulation, visualization and automatic management. In this article, we explain what Smart Supply Chains are, how they can be useful to us and what the future can anticipate for them.

What are Smart Supply Chains?

Smart Supply Chains are an innovative approach to supply chain management, using different IT methods to automate all parts of the process. In this way, the necessary quantities of each product in the chain can be predicted at all times, blockages can be predicted, deadlines can be managed and inventory data and their correlations can be visualized in real time. This facilitates the management of the entire chain, enabling companies to make informed decisions on how to manage their resources and respond quickly to changes in demand or unexpected disruptions in the chain.

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Technologies used in supply chains

Among the technologies used to achieve this, all those related to the Internet of Things (IoT) play a leading role. Different components integrated with software, sensors and connectivity technologies (WiFi, Bluetooth, 4G…) allow the monitoring of the industrial environment, providing reports on the status of shipments and stocks of production materials. They also allow monitoring the environmental conditions affecting the products, such as temperature and humidity, whose control is very important when working with certain materials, chemical products or foodstuffs.

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Similarly, Artificial Intelligence (AI) makes it possible to use all this data in the best possible way. Intelligent algorithms are used to enable machines to perform tasks that go beyond human capabilities. An example of this is the management of transport robots, optimization of inventory distribution in warehouses, prediction and correction of bottlenecks in production or reduction of risks such as waste of water, electricity or gasoline.

Finally, NFC (Near Field Communication) technology provides automatic tracking of packages within the factory and between factories. This facilitates confirmation of the arrival of components at their destination, automatic confirmation of task completion and traceability of processes to identify problems and inefficiencies.

Why are Smart Supply Chains useful?

Based on the above considerations, it is determined that Smart Supply Chains facilitate, for the companies that implement them, the following benefits:

Improved planning

Through in-depth data analysis, it is easier to correctly understand how demand is working. Companies gain the ability to ensure that their current plans are viable and will not be undermined by changing conditions in the environment with greater certainty.


Operational risk prediction

Supply chains can self-organize and self-optimize thanks to data. Moreover, by solving these optimization problems, it is possible to find problems of production delays, predict them in time and prepare a response before they happen. Even in an autonomous way, reducing the number of times that an over- or under-production is generated.

Transparency and clarity

Transparency of companies towards employees, so that they can operate with full knowledge of the facts and propose innovative solutions. Likewise, these attributes are essential for consumers in order to provide value through trust.

24/7 production

In most factories there are planned times for machine maintenance. During this time, the entire production is stopped and a significant loss of time and efficiency is generated. Through the predictive analytics of Smart Supply Chains, it is possible to know in advance when equipment will need to be repaired and plan around it. This eliminates the need for regular shutdowns and allows the impact of equipment repair to be reduced to a minimum.

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By using Smart Supply Chains, companies are able to connect the different stages of storage and transportation of their goods in an efficient, automatic, secure and robust way. Thanks to this technology, they are able to stay ahead of the competition and obtain extraordinary results, maximizing their efficiency and minimizing their costs.

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