Context and Challenges

Economies of scale and scope are favored by distributed production systems. This type of productive arrangement imposes challenges arising from the number of actors and contexts involved. The digitalization of production and operations, possible due to the application of Industry 4.0 concepts, technologies and methods, can improve the structuring and data-based monitoring of manufacturing networks, which contributes to improving their efficiency, effectiveness and scalability. Despite the increasing availability of data and the integration of virtual models to the planning and control of physical processes (cyber-physical systems), dealing with problem solving in uncertain environments that require flexibility, requires a systemic and human-centred view.

Planning and control are central beneficiaries of the current industrial revolution provided by the maturation of recent technological developments. Industry 4.0, digital production and operations, and its wide range of concepts and technologies can contribute to evidence-based decision making capable of operating efficiently and flexibly. By considering real-time information about the state of the system, reducing the time horizon and accelerating decision-making cycles, planning and control processes converge, improving their responsiveness.

Technological evolution creates new possibilities for dealing with the challenges of structuring and managing distributed production networks, contributing to their operational efficiency and consequent competitiveness. In the context of current and future digitalization, the need for an integrated and convergent vision is highlighted, identifying the most appropriate methods to support decisions, and the technological drivers with the greatest impact.