Supply Chain 4.0: Leveraging System Design and Engineering Optimization

Oct 14, 2019

Supply Chain 4.0 is an integrative approach to operational digitization, where existing and emerging technology applications are leveraged to transform the supply chain ecosystem in response to evolving business requirements and the gradual industry 4.0 evolution. Ruan's Director of Engineering and Strategy Eleke Ukpabi breaks down what it means for your business. 

How should companies prepare for the potential change to their business?

The first question is to understand why such a change should be a strategic imperative.

We advise businesses to conscientiously assess their culture, core competencies, and the critical impacts of supply chain elements to their business operations, including the propensity for continuous improvement and innovations disrupting or sustaining their industry. This organizational self-reflection and discovery will guide a cohesive supply chain management and sourcing strategy that produces clear requirements for operational leaders and potential logistics partners to achieve.

At Ruan, we have the people, process, and platform primed for such value-added partnerships. Our consulting service is designed to evaluate, validate, and create value by identifying transportation network and optimization opportunities within any given supply chain system. We apply the principles of Lean Six Sigma to bolster efficiency (waste reduction) and effectiveness (variation elimination).

Why should companies study their overall system design?

Most transformations occur from systematic incremental changes produced via supply chain network optimization and logistics engineering executions. On a foundational level, we seek to realistically recognize and appreciate the current state of any business system.

Our Solution Engineering methodology is to first understand the business, so it drives quality data. Synthesize the data, so it drives strategy. Validate the strategy, so it drives the plan. Verify the plan, so it drives execution. Evaluate the execution, so it drives continuous improvement toward the desired future state.

The depth of insights and results is typically dependent on existing data quality, system complexity, and resource capability. 

What impact can be expected from supply chain network optimization?

Supply chain network optimization typically delivers system efficiency gains of at least 15 percent, with additional cost savings estimates of up to 10 percent.

Our optimized product distribution approach considers variables like strategic facility locations, dedicated fleets for high volume lanes, and ideal modal selections based on service, schedule, and costs constraints. The aggregate business value created is typically dependent on the existing level of technological sophistication and operational maturity of the impacted business.

At Ruan, we apply our engineering expertise every day to model and impact these outcomes. Our deliverables include network demand and capacity analyses, performance measurement and constraints analyses, location and greenfield scenario analyses, business case development, and customized network studies.

Want to learn more? Contact one of our logistics experts today at