How Do Industry 4.0 Technologies Boost Collaborations in Buyer-Supplier Relationships?
Business leaders often consider digital technologies an enabler of new business models and market opportunities, but they often overlook their potential impact on the entire value chain. Considering three Industry 4.0 technologies—big data analytics and cloud computing, track and tracing, and simulation and modeling software—we identify the opportunities and challenges that emerge in the context of managing supply chain relationships. This study uses data from an international survey to test how these three Industry 4.0 technologies increase visibility and integration between buyers and suppliers and how they impact supply chain performance. Our results show mixed evidence: although all three technologies directly improve supply chain performance, big data analytics and cloud computing and simulation and modeling also fully support collaborative supply chain models, while track and tracing tools create more visible supply chains but are detrimental to obtaining higher process integration with suppliers. Surprisingly, buyer-supplier collaboration, in terms of visibility and integration, matters more than the technologies themselves.