Known as the fourth industrial revolution, industry 4.0 enables enterprises to have a more customer-centric approach than ever before. At its core, it’s the framework for companies across any industry to leverage their information systems more efficiently.
This new industrial revolution also brings with it the ability for agencies to transfer various autonomous decisions to self-learning robotics. It brings optimizing the supply chain, mapping out better processes through production data and using cyber-physical systems to streamline automation.
The next stage in industrial digitalization is industry 4.0. However, it’s not merely about investing in the newest tech or replacing tools for a more efficient manufacturing process. Businesses and even entire industries are being revolutionized through digital transformation, forever evolving how they grow and operate.
Industry 4.0 started as a 2011 German initiative to implement manufacturing computerization for highly flexible, mass production. Since then, companies around the world have rebranded the strategy while mirroring applicable principles. Major enterprises that first invested in more advanced tech and automation innovation helped spread the digital agenda across the globe.
Now, to survive and thrive in today’s digital climate, a company must be willing to invest in industry 4.0 as it continues to emerge. And even after the shake up from the COVID-19 pandemic, some companies struggle to understand how they might benefit from this modern tech.
Navigating this new digital jungle, understanding where to find value among the industrial hype – according to a research report from Accenture, 76% of executives aren’t sure how to scale from here even though 84% know that they must leverage automation and artificial intelligence to feasibly reach their growth objectives.
How do you leverage industry 4.0 for your enterprise? We want to look at today’s – and tomorrow’s – applications for this technological revolution, starting with connected technology solutions.
A connected enterprise can be achieved through cloud computing and other collaborative communication factors that create a lasting culture. From the group in finance to the crew in logistics, from the production line all the way back to the engineering team – industry 4.0 is what unifies them all. And in this modern, digital world most industries demand a united team focus.
Since collaboration is boosted between departments, executives, managers and operators in each sector can better leverage real-time data to make efficient, cost-effective decisions. Productivity as an enterprise improves, costs get trimmed, and with profits boosted as a result, industrial growth is fueled.
Putting IoT (Internet of Things) systems into place in your facility is one of the first important steps to industry 4.0. Prior to these systems, preventive maintenance must be performed manually, and unplanned downtime wasn’t something that could assuredly be avoided.
The industrial Internet of Things is IoT that extends to be used in industrial sectors and applications. It has the same concept, though – it’s a giant network of connectivity between things, people and more. Smart manufacturing tools, including sensors, are used to help observe analytics and evaluate critical assets.
With the right IoT systems in place, systems can sense maintenance needs and machinery issues before they become actual problems.
Automation springs forward advancements in supply chain software and other asset-focused factors. Industry 4.0 solutions allow for better asset optimization and tracking.
With the right digital skeleton, an enterprise can drive even greater optimization and efficiency using real-time visibility of the production process. Digitizing your factory or manufacturing plant can help a company recover or realize increased production capacity.
Optimized enterprise asset management also calls for more stringent cybersecurity. With big data gathered across a collaborative, enterprise-wide population, the risk of data exposure or operations disruptions can be present. Adequate scenario planning through predictive analytics is what can prevent those potential data breaches, however.
We’ve touched on the best ways to start leveraging industry 4.0 for your business but, at the same time, we acknowledge that over 75% of C-suite executives don’t know how to scale their 4.0 initiatives. The reality is many enterprises don’t know what internal capabilities to assess for their digital transformation.
Digitization isn’t a cheap endeavor. Once it’s started, it can also require a significant scaling of your initial investment. Digital growth does become self-sustaining, but over time – not overnight.
Does your operational staff have any relevant digital skills? An enterprise will need production workers to translate and understand technical and complex performance data, in real-time, from the very machines they use.
Finally, it will take more than your ground floor team to get your industry 4.0 strategy up and running. Rather, the team needs support and strategic guidance from senior management that are digitally fluent. Professionals that understand the smart manufacturing landscape and can help build your enterprise’s digital skills will be invaluable as this fourth industrial age continues to kick off.
How will industry 4.0 affect jobs?
Industry 4.0 will increase the use of robots and automation, allowing companies to put more focus on customer engagement and increasing profitability.
What are the risks of an industry 4.0 solution?
As with any industrial revolution, there are risks for the industry taking part. For this fourth revolution, risks include a lack of knowledge about digitalization, as well as any appropriate digital infrastructure. This can open up concerns about improper cybersecurity, which is a growing speedbump for digital industrialization. Companies that must split their focus with other priorities for their capital expenditure will also face risk.
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