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Industry 4.0 provides organizations with the opportunity to increase efficiencies and help transform industrial production, but proper implementation is key.

Industry trends

Industry 4.0: Could it Solve Your Problems or Cause More?

  • Lisa Horn
  • Ryan Ritchay
  • 8/10/2020

Key insights

  • Industry 4.0 bridges digital and physical environments, and its interconnectivity allows for real-time data access and a holistic approach to manufacturing.
  • Organizations typically find that the implementation of Industry 4.0 either solves problems or creates more of them.
  • Understand the problems you are trying to solve before implementing Industry 4.0.

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As Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, continues to gain momentum, many small and medium-sized organizations wonder how it can enhance their processes. While Industry 4.0 has the potential to increase your organization’s efficiencies, you must first understand the methodology and how to appropriately implement it in order to succeed.

An overview of Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 builds on what transpired in the so-called third industrial revolution, which was based on the rise of computing and the proliferation of robotics. The fourth industrial revolution bridges digital and physical environments to create a level of interconnectivity that permits real-time data access and a holistic approach to manufacturing.

Industry 4.0 is largely constructed of nine primary pieces:

  • Big data and analytics
  • Autonomous robots
  • Simulations
  • Horizontal and vertical systems integrations
  • The industrial Internet of Things
  • Cybersecurity
  • The cloud
  • Additive manufacturing
  • Augmented reality

These tools and processes add efficiency and proficiency to help transform industrial production.

To make Industry 4.0 part of your operations, you need far more than approval from leadership. Organizations typically find that Industry 4.0 either helps them solve problems or it creates more problems. To come out on the right side, identify how to use Industry 4.0 effectively.

Lead by strategy, not with tools

Many organizations haven’t developed a comprehensive, holistic strategy to succeed with Industry 4.0. These organizations often lead with tools instead of strategy. To reap the efficiency and productivity of the fourth industrial revolution, strategy is critical.

Prior to implementing Industry 4.0, step back and look at your organization’s plans — the 5-year plan, 10-year plan, and initial business plan — to help inform where Industry 4.0 fits into the overall strategy and vision. Identify your organization’s needs, processes, and weaknesses.

Understand the exact problems you aim to solve. Ask questions like:

  • Are we trying to compensate for a lack of skilled team members?
  • Are we trying to augment our workforce due to a lack of team members available?
  • Are we wanting to upgrade robotics for increased efficiency?
  • Do we recognize current and potential cybersecurity risks?

Once you recognize the specific problems, determine whether your current processes can handle the transition to Industry 4.0 solutions. In some cases, they cannot. Analyze your existing processes and identify operational weaknesses. If your systems aren’t adequately prepared for the jump, you risk putting broken processes into sophisticated and potentially expensive tools. This could cause new problems for your organization.

Nail the strategy

Short-term fixes are not long-term solutions. Industry 4.0 is not a short-term fix. Without the proper strategy, it cannot be a long-term solution either.

Industry 4.0 is more than an appealing concept or popular practice. It must provide ongoing value to make sense for your organization. Don’t simply jump right in and assume you’ll be successful. Instead, place Industry 4.0’s nine elements on a path with a vision. With the right plan, you can execute and operate at that “next level” Industry 4.0 teases.

How we can help

The right plan includes access to the right resources. CLA is here to provide you with the guidance, strategies, and insights you need as you construct a custom plan that fits your organization’s situation. Get in touch with our team today for more information.

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