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The Digitization of Supply Chain Management

Industrial Revolutions 1, 2, and 3

The First Industrial Revolution used water and steam power to mechanize production. Boilers used in steam engines powered trains across the American Continent and replaced sail power, allowing faster trade between countries.

The Second Industrial Revolution used electric power to create mass production and improve home living. Home lighting, refrigeration, freezers, and power tools all became commonplace in homes, thanks to the widespread adoption of electricity throughout the first world.

The Third Industrial Revolution used electronics and information technology to automate production. Anyone reading this article on an online device is reaping its benefits.

What is Industry 4.0?

Now, as proposed by the World Economic Forum as well as Harvard University, a fourth Industrial Revolution, aka Industry 4.0, is starting.

Industry 4.0 enables companies, governments, and public sector agencies to use innovative digital technologies, smart automation, and advanced analytics to transform operating processes. This blending of technologies combines the physical and digital (“phygital”) worlds, enabling unique and positive industry improvements and impacts.

The path to Industry 4.0 is powered by pervasive connectivity, cloud computing, and enriched data. It requires high-performance, secure networks that can integrate with legacy environments to support critical processes with 24/7 availability, high speed, and very fast responsiveness. These networks have the capability to connect all systems and machines, people, and business processes and offer deep data insights that will enable agile, proactive operations.

Industry 4.0 Digitalization and Innovation

Accelerating Industry 4.0 Digitalization and Innovation

Digitalization is seen as a catalyst for change. For industries, digital transformation will bring massive productivity improvements, resilience, and sustainability benefits to Industry 4.0.

Making high-performance connectivity more accessible, networks are opened securely for innovation and collaboration to fuel the digital transformation of cross-industry businesses. Industry 4.0 works across industry supply chains – manufacturing and logistics to retail and consumer products – to reduce risk, improve efficiency, accelerate procurement and payments, and solve persistent business issues.

Industry 4.0 network solutions enable companies to unleash infinite possibilities of digitalization solutions to:

  • Accelerate the digitalization and automation of operations with widespread, secure connectivity
  • Realize ambitions for more digital, resilient, and sustainable operations
  • Real-time redesign of operations, optimizing for productivity, agility, efficiency, and safety
  • Operate more effectively to meet operational and business goals

Supply chain digital assets deliver transparency across the entire supply chain through:


Optimize supply chain workflows with automated multi-party transactions:

Digitalization streamlines and standardizes processes with rights, obligations, and detailed authorization built into the language. This helps ensure the highest level of transparency and data integrity across supply chain transactions.


Improve ownership traceability and accelerate dispute resolution:

Provides a single source of truth based on detailed permissions that specify who is allowed to authorize a given contract step and who can view the contract data. When applied across distributed ledgers, this immutable data source provides a real-time, historical view of all transactions and agreements, eliminating malicious actors and counterfeit goods from the supply chain.


Conduct highly regulated transactions with data integrity and privacy:

Digital assets empower business domain experts across the supply chain to rapidly create interoperable multi-party workflows across multiple applications and infrastructures, extracting and connecting data that can be used in repeatable workflows. Using smart contracts, businesses can streamline supplier onboarding and incorporate Internet-of-Things data into logistics and planning for more accurate forecasting.


So many supply chain executives have come to Perficient because we have the industry experience and best practices knowledge for designing and building Industry 4.0 capabilities. If you would like to speak with us to discuss your Supply Chain needs, contact our Supply Chain executives.

Contributing Authors

Carl Aridas Carl Aridas

Carl Aridas has been a member of the Perficient Digital Assets Team since 2021.  Supporting mostly large financial services firms, he is certified in the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), is a Scrum Master, and is a Six Sigma Green Belt project manager.   

Lin E Lin Eshleman 

Lin Eshleman has been a member of Perficient’s Supply Chain team since 2021.  Supporting large, cross-industry Supply Chain firms, he has a PMP certification and is a Six Sigma Green Belt project manager. 

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Perficient Digital Assets Team

Thought leadership by Perficient’s Digital Assets Team. Contributors include Chandni Patel, Carl Aridas, Lin Eshleman, Steve Claudin, Tommy Lindsey, Tom Semanchik, Arun Dubagunta, Sean Breeze, Sasha Puchalla, and Spenser Ross.

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