Across multiple sectors, supply chain efficiency and transparency will be a major competitive advantage for organisations in the era of Industry 4.0. Governments and consumers are exerting more influence on the supply chain, demanding proof of product provenance, authenticity and regulatory compliance. Brand transparency is also desirable as shopping decisions are increasingly based on personal values such as sustainability and ethics.

For manufacturers, end to end visibility and traceability throughout the supply chain are key to meeting these demands efficiently.

As organisations race to achieve Industry 4.0, digitalisation and data sharing will drive capability. However, many manufacturers are aware they are falling short of visibility and traceability objectives. A study1 across Europe and South Africa revealed a disturbing gap between manufacturers’ operational objectives and what is currently being achieved. Information is not collected, harmonised or shared effectively, and stock visibility is poor. This severely impacts a brand’s capacity to efficiently recall products when issues arise.

1 The research was undertaken by Sapio Research during August 2017, across Europe and South Africa. Respondents were senior executives within a range of manufacturing sectors.