Wednesday 16th Oct 2019 - Logistics Manager Magazine

5G will drive supply chain improvements

The introduction of 5G technology could drive a move to self-triggered order placement based on inventory level – just one of a number of supply chain benefits identified in a new study by Capgemini.

EE launched the UK’s first 5G network last week, and more 5G networks will be launched over the coming months.

In its report, 5G in industrial operations, Capgemini highlights the benefits of 5G in both industrial supply chain and shop floor operations. Key supply chain applications include:

  1. Self-triggered order placement based on inventory level. “5G’s ability to connect 10–100 times more devices with better security protocols and 99.999 per cent availability will make these transactions more reliable,” said the report.
  2. Virtual testing of parts and packing from suppliers. “3D X-ray imaging can be used to create extremely accurate digital replicas of manufactured components to verify their specifications remotely. 5G’s improved speed, ability to connect 100x more devices, and improved network reliability can make this use case commercially feasible,” said the report.
  3. Remote monitoring of en-route shipment conditions
(e g., temperature and humidity). “5G’s ability to connect more devices with improved security will enhance the effectiveness of this use case,” said the report.

Capgemini surveyed executives from more than 800 industrial companies and 150 telecoms executives. When industrial companies’ executives were asked which technologies will be the most integral to their digital transformation over the next five years,

Some 75 per cent of industrial company executives said 5G would be a key enabler of their digital transformation over the next five years.

“Industrial companies believe that 5G’s versatility, flexibility and reliability will help address connectivity challenges (a limiting factor to digital transformation for 44 per cent of those polled) and fuel future use cases.”

One-third of industrial companies are planning to apply for their own 5G licence and large organisation will take the lead with 47 per cent expressing interest. This is fuelled by a desire for greater autonomy and security combined with concerns about telecom operators being too slow in rolling-out 5G public networks. However, there will be regulatory barriers which differ across countries.