China and Industry 4.0

China and Industry 4.0

September 3, 2018

China is leading the world in implementation of Industry 4.0.

Industry 4.0 is a digital factory concept that promises to dramatically increase productivity, decrease inventory holding costs, improve quality, and increase forecasting accuracy.  The IT architecture has to be built around the company’s unique business needs and processes instead of building a strategy around a particular technology to make Industry 4.0 work.

Investments in Industry 4.0 should have a payback period of less than two years.

This post is based on the McKinsey article, Imperatives for China’s factories of the future, by Anil Sikka, August 3, 2018. Image source: Shutterstock / Phonlamai Photo.

Discussion Questions:

1.  Industry 4.0 requires a major investment in IT architecture, e.g. data, analytics, robots. Are there limitations to implementation of Industry 4.0 that were not mentioned in the article for companies in the United States?

Guidance: Review the concept of scalability.  Students should recognize that the costs of implementation may limit Industry 4.0 to larger companies.  Additional issues that should be noted are workforce availability to implement and operate the IT architecture, and the requirement for tighter supply chain integration.

2. What happens to break-even quantity when Industry Continue reading

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Lockers Assist Online Orders at Home Depot

Lockers Assist Online Orders at Home Depot

August 6, 2018

Home Depot is installing lockers to allow customers to pick-up their online orders without having to interact with an employee.

The customer goes to the lockers located at the front of the store, and retrieves their orders.  The concept is to make picking-up online orders easier for their customers.

Currently 45% of Home Depot online orders are picked-up in the store.  Some of the larger orders still require employee assistance.

Walmart and Amazon are also implementing the locker concept for online order pickup.  Although the home improvement segment isn’t as advanced in terms of online orders as other segments, this shows Home Depot’s dedication to online sales.


Video Spotlight: Buy Online, Pickup in Store Challenge: Home Depot vs. Lowe’s | CNBC


This post is based on the USA Today article, Home Depot Joins Walmart, Others in Installing Lockers in Stores for Online Orders, by David Plan, June 27, 2018 and the YouTube video, Buy Online, Pickup in Store Challenge: Home Depot vs. Lowe’s | CNBC, November 22, 2017. Image source: Space Kaleidoscope / Shutterstock.

Discussion Questions:

1. What are the benefits of using lockers for order pick-up for online customers at Home Depot?

Guidance Continue reading

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