Industry 4.0 promises higher productivity, agile processes, better collaboration, rapid innovation, reduced costs, and improved customer satisfaction.
Yet, adoption has been slow. Why?
Many manufacturing companies still lack the foundational technology infrastructure that must be in place before they can fully exploit Industry 4.0.
The good news is that more manufacturers are heeding this advice and investing in technology that enables connectivity between people, systems, and machines. However, incremental change won’t be fast enough as competition gets farther ahead in the race to go digital. It will take a vision, strategy, and a plan.
Here are six steps manufacturers can take to stay on a clear path to Industry 4.0:
- Stay informed. You may think you know Industry 4.0, and you may have read up extensively on what’s out there. But have you tried out the technology for yourself? Visited a plant where it has been implemented? Gone to trade shows and talked with tech vendors? Until you make time for these activities, Industry 4.0 is just a concept, not a reality.
- Get R&D involved. Your R&D team probably spends most of its time coming up with brilliant concepts for your customers. How about tapping into their creative genius to come up with brilliant concepts for your company?
- Build your skills. You no doubt have a talented workforce—but their talents may not be in the right areas to keep you competitive in an Industry 4.0 world. How adept is your team at working with big data analytics? In-memory computing? Cloud technology? These are just a few skills they’ll need to support your company’s digital ventures. Assess what your team can do now, and make a plan for giving them the skills they’ll need later.
- Create sunset plans. Take stock of your facilities, tools, and machines. They may be meeting your needs now, but they won’t forever. Don't wait until your assets are outdated to start thinking about replacing them. Start making your plans now for transitioning to new technology.
- Think about ditching your data center. How much budget—and how many man-hours—are you spending every month just to maintain aging hardware and software? Couldn’t your IT team contribute much more strategic value to your organization by focusing on building and launching the next-generation systems that will extend your competitive advantage? Start making your plan to minimize your IT footprint and maximize your use of cloud solutions.
- Form strategic partnerships. Remember when your office automation suite provider was considered a strategic vendor simply because they made the software that virtually everyone in your organization used? Well, their software may still be on every desktop, laptop, and tablet across your organization, but that doesn’t mean your relationship with these vendors is strategic. Focus on building stronger relationships with the vendors that help you connect people to processes and machines.
Get more insights by downloading the white paper: The Curious Path to Industry 4.0.