5G and edge enable a diverse set of Industry 4.0 tools and use cases, including predictive maintenance, asset tracking, inventory management, collaborative robots, and efficient supply-chaining. The last of these, however, does not feature significantly in the current Industry 4.0 discourse. To appreciate how important supply-chaining is as a source of competitive advantage and profit in an increasingly digital commercial world, the readers of this ABI Insight should consider this fact: Wal-Mart is the biggest retailer in the world (with Amazon being second) and it does not produce a single product. All it “produces” is a hyper-efficient supply chain, an essential component and indispensable driver for smart manufacturing, and by extension, Industry 4.0.
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