The aim of this paper is to examine how multinational companies from five industries can adapt to what we call Supply Chain 4.0; the supply chain created as a result of the new digital era brought forth by the fourth industrial revolution. The focus is limited to three key emerging trends this development is seeing; Big Data, cloud computing and 3D printing. This study is carried out through a literature review and empirical findings from a series of interviews, and an explorative survey. The literature review identified a substantial difference in compatibility between industry level and the digital transformation Supply Chain 4.0 implies. Empirical findings showed that among the investigated trends, 3D printing was considered to have a major impact on Supply Chain 4.0. Its use though has been limited due to uncertainty among the supply chain stakeholders about its true added value in a cost/benefit perspective. Moreover, multinationals showed a strong preference for Big Data implementations, but only had limited focus on cloud computing applications. This paper presents a graphical framework meant to give practitioners a better description and understanding of the issues that have been debated concerning Supply Chain 4.0, their adaptability and their strengths and challenges.
- Industry 4.0
- supply chain 4.0
- emerging trends
- multinational companies
Makris, D., Hansen, Z. N. L., & Khan, O. (Accepted/In press). Adapting to supply chain 4.0: an explorative study of multinational companies. Supply Chain Forum: an International Journal. https://doi.org/10.1080/16258312.2019.1577114