As we are entering the new era of automation and digital transformation at full speed, all the industries get affected by this flood of new technologies and solutions. Traditional manufacturing and industrial practices evolve and transform through integration of automation, IoT, smart sensors, advanced human-machine interfaces, etc. We call all these processes combined the Fourth Industrial Revolution or Industry 4.0.
Since Industry 4.0 is all about interconnection and real time transition of information between devices, machines and humans, it affects all the processes in and outside of manufacturing facilities and production or trading companies. Naturally, logistics plays a crucially important role in Industry 4.0 as any production requires a well-oiled supply chain machine to support it. This is when the concept of Logistics 4.0 (also known as Supply chain 4.0) comes in.
What is Logistics 4.0?
You can find multiple definitions of Logistics 4.0 out there, as this concept includes so many processes, technologies and applications. Here is our attempt to come up with a definition: Logistics 4.0 is a concept of using innovative technologies and the data they collect and produce to improve the efficiency and performance of all supply chain operations and deliver better products, meeting customer requirements as an ultimate result.
This concept of Logistics 4.0 includes multiple changes and advancements made to the supply chain and logistics operations. They can be divided into three main components or areas of new technology integration: connection, automation, and decision making.
Connection refers to everything about the objects and the equipment used for logistics, as integration of new technologies would allow them to collect data and share it with other parts of the network in real time.
All the activities that are performed manually, automatically or semi-automatically as part of logistics operations can be a subject of automation and interconnection with other parts of the work process.
The third key component of Logistics 4.0 is decision making, as all the data collected and analyzed after the integration of these technologies needs to be presented to decision makers, providing them with valuable information and insights. The access to such data can facilitate multiple strategic changes, ultimately leading to greater efficiency and speeding up the processes.
Why is Logistics 4.0 impossible without Low-Code platforms?
As you can see, all the components of Logistics 4.0 revolve around connecting machines, devices, people, processes and computer systems together in order to achieve maximum efficiency and eliminate redundant and mundane work processes as much as it is possible.
But in order for all these enhancements to be operationalized, and above-mentioned interconnection to be put into practice, businesses require multiple instruments that are easy to build, customizable to fit the specific needs of every individual business, and quickly adoptable.
This is where Low-Code platforms enter the stage, being among the key drivers of all these processes as they allow businesses and organizations of all sizes to create various custom applications able to empower the Logistics 4.0 and achieve desired results.
How Low-Code apps empower Logistics 4.0?
Easy to develop and quickly deployable applications is an integral part of Logistics 4.0. They are driving the connections between the parties involved, provide real-time access to information for the workforce, present the results of data collection and analysis to decision makers, and play many other key roles in these processes.
Here are a few examples of how you can empower logistics with low-code applications and why using low-code platforms such as Visual LANSA is the way to get the maximum benefit while minimizing costs at the same time.
1. No need to hire experienced engineers and developers.
One of the problems behind building and integrating applications to enhance various work processes is the need to hire highly qualified software developers and other tech specialists capable not only to plan and create such apps in line with specifications and taking the needs of various parties into account, but also to integrate them into the processes both onsite and offsite. Needless to say, this requires expertise, and hiring such developers can be difficult and expensive, making the whole process longer and more complicated than you would like it to be.
Low-code platforms solve this problem by providing companies with all the tools to create apps they need, quickly deploy them and introduce necessary updates and improvements along the way. Having low-code development tools at your disposal, you can entrust these tasks to internal specialists and even regular workers as they don’t need to have any coding knowledge to contribute to the development process.
2. Quick digitization and supply chain optimization.
The introduction of low-code apps allows you to quickly and easily digitize multiple processes and operational components. In particular, paper-based documents and forms, such as instructions, guides, audit reports, manuals, etc., can be digitized and turned into interactive content, which is a great way to organize and speed up all the processes. Interactive apps also can be a great way to identify changes needed to be made for supply chain optimization thanks to various features such as real-time feedback and data analysis.
3. Accelerated development and deployment.
Rapid development and deployment of new value-driving solutions is another key requirement of the Industry 4.0 era. In order to achieve true digital transformation throughout all the operational components and processes, organizations need to be able to develop and launch new solutions as fast as possible, while also being able to quickly add updates and corrections in the process. This is why best low-code platforms are focused on making all parts of the app development and deployment very accessible even for complete beginners, minimizing the time required to achieve measurable results.
4. Easy collaboration and improved work productivity.
Low-code platforms also enable the new level of collaboration among workers, management, and other parties involved in the operational processes by allowing them to share information and feedback in real time. The integration of interactive apps, seamlessly sharing info and automating multiple repetitive and mundane processes, leads to boosted productivity and higher efficiency.
5. Elimination of errors and continuous improvement.
Reduced number of delays, mistakes, errors and other issues throughout the supply chain is another major benefit of using low-code enterprise applications to empower Logistics 4.0 transformation. At the same time, collaboration and shared access options also support continued improvement of these solutions, achieving better optimization and increased productivity as the system evolves and constantly integrates increasingly complex components of the operational process.
Is a low-code platform a must-have tool?
Evidently, a low-code platform is a must-have tool if you want your organization to successfully adopt the major components of Logistics 4.0 and utilize all the benefits of these new technologies. And to do this in a timely manner, which is also a very important requirement in today’s increasingly competitive business environment.
You can start utilising these technologies today with Visual LANSA, which is a powerful development environment pushing the boundaries of what we have traditionally considered as low-code. Visual LANSA allows organizations to build anything from a basic application to handle tasks or send feedback to complex supply chain apps.
We are planning to share more information about specific solutions in logistics and supply chain management that can be developed with Visual LANSA, as well as actual use cases of our clients, using LANSA’s platform as the key component of their Logistics 4.0 strategy. Stay tuned!
To learn more about how Visual LANSA can help your application development evolve, contact sales.