What is Industry 4.0 and How to Implement it in Your Company?

Aug 20, 2021 | Blog

The Fourth Industrial Revolution, also known as Industry 4.0, is changing the way companies operate, their internal processes and, therefore, the technological environments in which they must be involved. But before we start analyzing the impact that this tech and digital revolution will have on organizations, people and assets, let’s do a beginners guide to talk about what Industry 4.0 is, what we mean by impacting businesses positively and the benefits of adopting it.

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0 is an evolution of industry that focuses heavily on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning, and real-time data. It integrates production and physical operations with smart digital technology and big data analytics to create a more holistic and better connected ecosystem. While every organization operating has different business models, physical systems and production processes, they all face the same challenge: the need for connectivity and access to real-time information.

Industry 4.0 is not just about investing in new technology and tools to make process improvements, change the manufacturing execution or boost productivity and efficiency, it’s about revolutionizing the way your entire business operates and grows in all the value chain.

This revolution is driven by the emergence of new technologies such as:

Robotics, Big Data, artificial intelligence, cognitive technologies, nanotechnology and Internet of Things. Along with 3D printing, augmented reality and other digital innovations to create a smart factory for your company.

These are exciting new technologies, but leaders of organizations must identify the ones that best meet their needs and support their manufacturing processes to increase efficiency in their companies.

Now that we have a scope of what the Fourth Industrial Revolution is, let’s analyze the impact of implementing this tech revolution in companies and their business process to stay updated. The impact that it has is much broader, affecting all industries, from the United Kingdom to the Middle East and its societies. Technologies related can also lead to entirely new products and services. The use of sensors and wearable devices, AI and machine learning to analyze large amounts of data, autonomous mobile robots, among others, will allow improvements in products from the creation of prototypes to the incorporation of connectivity, to other devices. These changes are reflected in the supply chain and, consequently, in customers.

What are the impacts of Industry 4.0?

The impacts of the Fourth Industrial Revolution can be felt at multiple levels: in ecosystems, at the organizational as well as individual (client) level:

– Ecosystems. In addition to the change in which horizontal and vertical systems operate, Industry 4.0 affects all the people who are part of the supply chain: suppliers, customers, board of directors, partner programs, among others. 

– Organizations. The ability to adjust and learn from data in real time can make organizations more responsive, efficient and productive. It also enables the organization to reduce its productivity risks, have preventive maintenance and smart manufacture in products.

– Individuals: Industry 4.0 can mean different things to everyone. For example, for employees it may mean changes in their inventory management, optimized processes and smart machines that are actual autonomous robots. While for customers it could mean digitally transformed processes and greater customization in products and services that better meet their needs.

What are the challenges of Industry 4.0?

Finding the right Industry 4.0 fit. The true challenge is that it isn’t always clear for companies which innovation initiative to adopt. Fourth Industrial Revolution offers a variety of options which carry high complexity risks due to the little experience we have in the implementation processes. That is why it is decisive for companies to make an exhaustive analysis and have a ROI calculator to make this great investment a success.

And for those companies that have already selected Industry 4.0, there are still barriers to  overcome. A real world example would be: How will companies build paths to select, justify and leverage the functionalities available to them? 

From a technology perspective, increased connectivity and cloud computing mean that issues like cyber physical systems and data ownership must be addressed. Companies must choose projects that are consistent with their business process, identify what the benefits of these technologies are and create the infrastructure to be able to incorporate them successfully.

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