The following blog is the forth instalment in a joint thought leadership series in collaboration with Supply Chain Matters.

This article focuses on the growing significance of production planning and scheduling in today’s ever-changing business landscape. It explores how manufacturing strategies align with Industry 4.0 and how this transformation impacts supply chain, operational, and shop-floor planning, especially in process-focused manufacturing.

Click here for Part One  |  Click here for Part Two | Click here for Part Three

Colleagues having fun at work. Businessman and businesswoman playing table soccer.

Background and Series Highlights: 

  • The series began by emphasizing the need for businesses to adapt, realign, and respond to ongoing disruptions caused by the pandemic, economic uncertainties, and geopolitical factors.
  • It stressed the importance of proactive supply chain and manufacturing processes, including disciplined planning and the removal of manual efforts to enhance agility and resilience.
  • The series highlighted the need to understand and address business transformation goals, identifying constraints for better overall performance.
  • It also addressed talent challenges in transforming production planning, emphasizing the importance of technology tools and skills evolution among planners.


Industry and Manufacturing 4.0 Transformation:

  • The article delves into Industry 4.0, a concept that encompasses the integration of physical, digital, and advanced analytics technologies to transform manufacturing and supply networks.
  • It involves the interaction of humans and machines through technologies like robotics and IoT, digitalization of business processes, and advanced analytics and AI for decision-making.
  • Industry 4.0 starts with a strategic vision, automation objectives, and the connection of strategy, planning, and operations through digital processes.
  • The use of advanced algorithms can automate planning, enabling planners to access actual manufacturing data for more informed decision-making.


Process Manufacturing Considerations:

  • The article highlights the unique challenges of batch or continuous process manufacturing, which involves products made from various raw materials like food, chemicals, and pharmaceuticals.
  • Planning must consider product composition, formula, machine availability, and production yield.
  • Specific process rules and formulas govern production, requiring dynamic algorithms for optimization.
  • Batch process production may feed into discrete manufacturing processes, sharing attributes like line capacity and quality control.


Digital Transformation of Production:

  • The digital transformation of production involves connecting tactical and operational planning processes and data streams.
  • It aims to control, synthesize, and digitize information elements to provide end-to-end control of production processes.
  • Technology-enabled planning leverages a Cloud-based Digital Twin, AI, and machine learning to proactively identify and correct plan exceptions.
  • The goal is synchronized and context-aware decision-making across all planning processes.


Key Reader Takeaways for Industry 4.0 Transformation:

  • Industry 4.0 represents a broad transformation in operational and business planning supported by digital methods and capabilities.
  • It requires a collective vision, alignment of planning and production control processes, and synchronization of processes related to product demand and production.
  • Real-time information from the factory floor is crucial for responsive planning and decision-making.
  • A layered Cloud-based control layer approach is recommended over disruptive system replacements.


Addressing Evolving Talent Needs:

  • The article discusses the impact of technology-driven transformations on talent recruitment and retention.
  • Skills-based recruitment and performance assessment are encouraged over traditional job descriptions.
  • Young professionals seek organizations offering career growth, advanced tools, and a departure from manual processes.
  • Organizational change management strategies are necessary to support skills-based recruitment and retain experienced professionals.
  • Competitive advantage can be gained through skilled planners, who evolve from data extraction to decision analysis.


In summary, this article emphasizes the importance of technology-enabled transformations in production planning and scheduling within the context of Industry 4.0. It also underscores the evolving talent needs and organizational changes required to support these transformations effectively. The next installment in the series will explore the impact of Industry 4.0 on operational planning and real-time data on the shop floor.

Click here for the original Supply Chain Matters’ article.

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