“We must develop a comprehensive and globally shared view of how technology is affecting our lives and reshaping our economic, social, cultural, and human environments. There has never been a time of greater promise, or greater peril.” — Klaus Schwab
We are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0 as its more commonly known.
Of course, with a great opportunity, comes great challenges. But before we delve any deeper, let’s look at what Industry 4.0 is in a nutshell.
Industry 4.0 is the of automation information and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. The notion includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things (IoT) and cloud computing.
In essence, Industry 4.0 creates what has been called a smart factory.
To elaborate, digital technology has changed the face of industrial and manufacturing world. The convergence of IoT, Artificial Intelligence and robots, among other advancements, has enabled smart factories as well as the quantum leap into Industry 4.0.
This involves the integration of the physical and software in production, as well as the service sector. Amazon, Uber, Facebook, ‘smart factories’ and 3D printing, are among modern pioneers of the new industrial revolution.
Industry 4.0 is coming fast and to compete in tomorrow’s world, and beyond, tech companies must evolve with the times. So, the question is: are you ready for Industry 4.0? And what challenges will you face in the near future.
Let’s take a look.
Industry 4.0: the challenges
As Industry 4.0 continues to change the way we interact with the world around us, new challenges arise. Here are the main challenges you may face in the not so distant future:
● New business models — the definition of a new strategy
● Rethinking your organization and processes to maximise new outcomes
● Understanding your business case
● Conducting successful pilots
● Helping your organization to understand where action is needed
● Change management, something that is too often overlooked
● Examination of company culture
● The genuine interconnection of all departments
● Recruiting and developing new talent
The Internet of Things (IoT) will connect machines and systems and allow seamless data transmission across all departments of a workplace, opening up opportunities for entirely new business models in manufacturing, computing, and many other industries.
Talking to the Strait Times about the manufacturing sector, IoT expert Dr Gunther Kegel explained, “A device originally used for simple protection can now provide data, which can, for instance, be sold to insurance companies. All of a sudden, your business model is completely different.”
To thrive and indeed survive in tomorrow’s world, you will need to look at each of the above challenges and act upon them as soon as possible. But, it’s important to remember that above all, Industry 4.0 requires businesses and organisations to adopt a fresh thinking mindset, understanding the power of the inter-connectivity realised by new technologies.
By being able to adopt a new mindset, refresh your company culture, adapt your business model, create new roles and nurture the talent to fulfil those roles, the rest will follow, as long as your change is managed closely throughout the process.
Industry 4.0: the benefits
Similar to digital transformation, the benefits of Industry 4.0 will ultimately help a business become smarter and more efficient.
To summarise, here are the key benefits of the new industrial revolution…
● Enhanced productivity through optimisation and automation
● Real-time data for real-time supply chains in a real-time economy
● Greater business continuity through advanced maintenance and monitoring possibilities
● Higher quality products as a result of real-time monitoring, IoT-enabled quality improvement and cobots
● Better working conditions and superior sustainability
● Personalisation opportunities that will earn the trust and loyalty the modern consumer
With an understanding of what you have to gain from harnessing the power of Industry 4.0, taking the actions required to realise it will be all the more easier.
It’s true that Industry 4.0 comes with its fair share of challenges, but by facing them head on it’s clear to see that you have everything to gain.