Revolutionizing Industry 4.0 with Philips 

It is Thursday, April 18, 2024. About twenty leaders in the Dutch manufacturing industry and related sectors gather at the unique, historical castle of Slot Loevestein for one of the four annual meetings of the Smart Industry Network Netherlands, or – in short – SINN. The SINN network is dedicated to enabling knowledge sharing among peers, and brings together a group of executives in round table sessions to join forces and discuss challenges in making afuture, sustainable impact in the context of Industry 4.0. The events are Flevum initiatives, made possible by a driving partnership between Capgemini, Equinix, and Microsoft.

This time, Capgemini moderator Edwin van Vianen kicks off the session with an ambitious statement that aims to revolutionize the world of Industry 4.0. He introduces the Smart Industry Network Netherlands (SINN), after which Teus van Dieren, Head of Supply Chain Strategy and Transformation at Philips, takes the floor. During an interactive keynote presentation in between courses, he shares insights on how Philips is transforming its supply chain approach to revolutionize the industry and make a sustainable impact with the network, which eagerly joins the conversation on supply chain strategy. Are you curious about the course of the evening? Read the article to learn more!

Reshaping supply chains? 

Keynote speaker Teus van Dieren has a broad career in the supply chain industry. Over the years working at Heineken, FrieslandCampina, and Philips he has seen the world become more and more complex. Today, this complexity demands a complete overhaul of global supply chains to keep up with the pace of change.

For many companies that have experienced growth over the years, their supply chain design has organically evolved with time. But, with the world changing faster than ever before, companies need to rethink the way they design their supply chain. This requires developing a robust supply chain strategy that can help businesses navigate the disruptions and adapt to the ever-changing world.

In order to revolutionize Industry 4.0, companies must develop their supply chain strategy. The disruptions paired with the ever-changing world require companies to rethink the way they design their supply chain to optimize operations and bring about initiatives that deliver on key performance indicators.

Supply chain optimization 

Strategizing on the design of the supply chain is a crucial aspect that can lead to a more resilient and sustainable system. However, designing a future supply chain requires making strategic choices. These strategic choices, however, must be made in a world full of disruptions. Predicting these disruptions is like herding cats, but combining insights and expectations can provide a feasible way to improve decision-making in uncertainty.

During the Vision Dinner, Teus van Dieren shares valuable insights on what he considers the most important factors in supply chain design. During his interactive keynote, the group discusses the influence of factors such as sustainability, quality, and resilience in addition to cost optimization in the supply chain, emphasizing the significance of understanding the trade-offs between the various elements of the supply chain and balancing them for optimal performance. 

Although participants come from different backgrounds, and are at the helm of a variety of organizations, a shared understanding of the way in which technology, including AI, is becoming increasingly important in making these strategic choices, leads the group to discuss valuable insights into strategies to lever AI into the supply chain to generate informed decisions that improve performance, cut costs, and increase customer satisfaction.

Digitalization is key, but we must not lose the human touch 

Following the keynote speech, participants of the Vision Dinner are treated to a delightful meal and have the opportunity to engage in lively discussions among themselves. Three table hosts representing SINN partners Microsoft, Capgemini, and Equinix later summarized the discussions that took place at their respective tables. 

One of the prominent themes that emerged from the discussions is the importance of digitalization in supply chain design, while still maintaining the human touch. Digitalization plays a vital role in supply chain design, as it makes the supply chain more agile. By leveraging digital technologies, the different siloed steps of the traditional supply chain can be integrated into a fully integrated ecosystem, resulting in a more efficient operation. Furthermore, digitalization allows for complete transparency throughout the supply chain, making it easier for all stakeholders to monitor and manage the process.

However, due to the disruptive nature of the business, participants agree on the cruciality of experience-based decisions by supply chain leaders. Making key decisions at the right time can make a difference between thriving and collapsing during disruptions. Therefore, while digitalization is important, it must be accompanied by the human touch to ensure that strategic decisions are made based on experience.

Different industries, similar challenges, and useful lessons learned

At the networking drinks organized after the dinner, attendees have the chance to reflect on a thought-provoking evening. Despite coming from different industries, the executives who participate in this Vision Dinner shared similar challenges. When asked what lessons they take home from this Vision Dinner, one of the participants highlights the importance of discipline in supply chain leadership. Another participant from states the biggest takeaway for him is the need to stick to the plan. But all of them agree exchanging best practices and lessons learned with peers from the industry is the most effective way to tackle the challenges of the future.

Are you interested in learning more about the SINN program? Are you an executive in the Dutch manufacturing industry or a related sector, and would you like to participate in future events? Check out the program and join this exclusive community here!

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