Reimagine Manufacturing Supplier Development

An Introduction to the DMSCA Playbook for Industry 4.0

Unless corporate supplier diversity and development organizations engage in supporting mature and maturing small to midsize manufacturing (SMM) supplier digitalization, we are participating in their marginalization. The transition of supply chains from data-driven Industry 3.0 end-to-end linear Supply Chain Networks (SCNs) to Industry 4.0 cyber-physical connected Digital Supply Networks (DSNs) is fundamentally changing how Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) source suppliers.

COVID-19 was a major wakeup call for MNEs to realize a lack of resiliency in their supply chains. MNEs are now asking Where are my products and in what condition are they? Can I get them to end-users? Who are the engaged suppliers and what are their responsiveness, reliability, agility, cost structure, and inventory management performance metrics? The most important question being asked is why don’t I have visibility into their operations and all other elements of my supply chain network such as warehouses and distribution channels? While COVID-19 was a catalyst for change, MNE’s transition to Industry 4.0 cyber-physical connected Digital Supply Networks (DSNs) was already well underway with assessing their own digital maturity and developing digital transformation strategies and roadmaps.

There is a proliferation of articles, knowledge-based content and scholarly articles on MNE’s journey towards digitalization, but the journey for SMMs is different. As detailed in “A Critical Review of Smart Manufacturing & Industry 4.0 Maturity Models: Implications for SMMs,” (Journal of Manufacturing Systems, 2018), the following findings were found:

 Research Gap 1: “Differences in the ‘starting conditions’ between SMMs and MNEs when it comes to Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0.”

  • “…[M]ost maturity models, roadmaps, frameworks, etc. currently available for Smart Manufacturing or Industry 4.0 consider mainly the need and resources of Multinational Enterprises (MNEs).”
  • SMMs “do not possess the required expertise and resources (monetary and human) to adopt new Industry 4.0 technologies.”
  • SMMs “may need to invest more in technologies that have thus far not been more relevant to their business.”

Research Gap 2: “Disconnect between maturity models and self-assessment readiness tools.”

  • “…. [M]ost of the maturity models/roadmaps/frameworks leading towards Smart Manufacturing or Industry 4.0 lack a self-assessment tool and, thereby making it harder for SMMs to self-assess its starting point.”
  • “…[I]mportant for SMMs to have an easy to interpret maturity model that can include both a readiness assessment tool and a maturity model, which may be applier by a SME manager.”

 Research Gap 3: “Support (tailored to SMMs) for next step after maturity and readiness are assessed.”

  • “Although there are websites that help companies to locate/map their current state, they do not allow for an independent assessment.”

The conclusion reached by this research is that: “…a future model that focuses specifically on SME’s need is required. Such a model should first demonstrate an organization’s readiness towards Smart Manufacturing with the help of activities performed in the SMM, and then show how an SMM can create its own tailored vision of Smart Manufacturing.”

The Diverse Manufacturing Supply Chain Alliance, in association with the new DMSCA Supplier Development, has developed such an SMM development model that addresses each of the cited research gap issues and have incorporated them in a “Ten Step Playbook for Manufacturing Engagement in Industry 4.0 Supply Chains” (Playbook). The Playbook addresses,

  • a process for the development of SMM supply chain strategy to guide operational and workforce digitalization
  • a collaborative framework for assessing SMM supply chain performance, digitalization, and workforce readiness
  • a vehicle for support, supplier use cases and case studies to demonstrate continuous improvement

Request a meeting to learn more about the “DMSCA Playbook for Industry 4.0” and reimaging supplier development and diversity.