05 Background reading & videos

What Supply Chain Innovation is taking place right now? Experts are calling it the “Fourth Industrial Revolution”

The “Fourth Industrial Revolution” or “Industry 4.0” represents a new, disruptive period in manufacturing/production and its related value creation processes.
It is characterized by new technologies that fuse the physical, digital, and biological worlds and is taking place right now. Use the triangle icons to expand/collapse the information below.
Industry 1.0 - First Industrial Revolution
Late 1700s - based on the introduction of mechanical production equipment driven by water & steam
Industry 2.0 - Second Industrial Revolution
Late 1800s - based on mass production achieved by electricity and assembly lines (division of labor)
Industry 3.0 - Third Industrial Revolution
Mid to late 1900s - based on the use of electronics and computing to further automate production
Industry 4.0 - Fourth Industrial Revolution
Present times - based on the use of cyber-physical systems


Recent innovations


Data/Digital Platforms & Control Towers

A supply chain control tower is traditionally defined as a connected, personalized dashboard of data, key business metrics and events across the supply chain. A supply chain control tower enables organizations to more fully understand, prioritize and resolve critical issues in real time. .

Machine Learning & AI

Machine learning uses data to train a computer model so it can adjust to conditions without being programmed to do so. This way, the machine can teach itself over time, improving the accuracy of its own algorithms. Applications include: inventory management, warehouse management, logistics & transportation, production, etc.

Digital Twins

A digital twin is a virtual model designed to accurately reflect a physical object. These sensors produce data about different aspects of the physical object's performance, such as energy output, temperature, weather conditions and more. This data is then relayed to a processing system and applied to the digital copy.


Blockchain is an internet-based technology that is prized for its ability to publicly validate, record, and distribute transactions in immutable, encrypted ledgers. The technology was invented to support transactions in bitcoin, a digital cryptocurrency that operates independently from a central bank. A blockchain supply chain can help participants record price, date, location, quality, certification, and other relevant information to more effectively manage the supply chain. .

Smart Sensors & Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) describes physical objects that are embedded with sensors, processing ability, software, and other technologies, and that connect and exchange data with other devices and systems over the internet or other communications networks.

Augmented Reality / Virtual Reality

Augmented reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) bridge the digital and physical worlds. They allow you to take in information and content visually, in the same way you take in the world. AR dramatically expands the ways our devices can help with everyday activities like searching for information, shopping, and expressing yourself. VR lets you experience what it's like to go anywhere — from the front row of a concert to distant planets in outer space.

Computer Vision

Computer vision is a field of artificial intelligence (AI) that enables computers and systems to derive meaningful information from digital images, videos and other visual inputs — and take actions or make recommendations based on that information. If AI enables computers to think, computer vision enables them to see, observe and understand.

Robotic Process Automation

Robotic process automation is a form of business process automation that allows anyone to define a set of instructions for a robot or ‘bot’ to perform.

Autonomous Vehicles

An autonomous vehicle is one that can drive itself from a starting point to a predetermined destination in “autopilot” mode using various in-vehicle technologies and sensors, including adaptive cruise control, active steering (steer by wire), anti-lock braking systems (brake by wire), GPS navigation technology, lasers and radar.


Wearable technology, also known as "wearables", is a category of electronic devices that can be worn as accessories, embedded in clothing, etc. Apple Watch and Fitbit are classic examples of wearable technology, but those aren't the only devices being developed today. In addition to smart watches, VR and AR technology, smart jackets and a wide variety of other gadgets are leading us towards a better-connected lifestyle.

Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing)

3D printing or additive manufacturing is a process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The creation of a 3D printed object is achieved using additive processes, i.e. laying down successive layers of material until the object is created. It is the opposite of subtractive manufacturing which uses tools, such as a milling machine, to cut or hollow out metal or plastic.

Agile Ways of Working

As companies need to act faster and more flexibly, more and more companies are questioning traditional project management methods. Agile working promises to make companies more dynamic and cross-functional. In the software and IT industry, product cycles are short and the requirements for a solution can change very quickly. Speed and flexibility are becoming important competitive factors. The methodology of working in an agile, iterative way with a focus on the customer has been adapted for teams outside of IT.

Video (YouTube) examples

Smart warehouse


RFID tags for blood bags


Blood bag labeling (Tour of blood bank in Spain)




Want to print your doc?
This is not the way.
Try clicking the ⋯ next to your doc name or using a keyboard shortcut (
) instead.