• Guest Writer

Your business is like a jigsaw puzzle and here is how to add an Industry 4.0 piece

The most commonly used term for the current rapid development, which is changing the way we work, interact, manufacture and live is the fourth industrial revolution. The Industry 4.0 concept encompasses the digitalization of the horizontal and vertical value chain, innovation in products and services and the creation of new business models. The key business drivers of this transformation include improving customer experience, increasing speed to market and reducing costs. In order to exploit the benefits of Industry 4.0, leaders have it at the top of their agenda.

So how you can adopt Industry 4.0 in your business to foster business growth?

1. Assess your current situation

Before moving anywhere, first, it is important to assess what state your business is at. What parts of your business are mature and which parts still need improvement? Not assessing your current situation and identifying strengths and weakness could cause you some bumps on the road as you move forward. This will help you to lay the foundation for the implementation of new technologies in your organization and their successful execution.

2. Complete your Industry 3.0 implementation first

Yes, there is such a thing as Industry 3.0 as well. Although it hasn’t been so massively advertised and hyped as 4.0 is, it is an important prerequisite for businesses to tackle in order to successfully move forward. The reason for that is, most companies are ready to jump right into implementing Industry 4.0 without finalizing the implementation of Industry 3.0 which in the long run can cause much greater inefficiencies, confusion, gaps in process and more. To distinguish whereas your business has successfully implemented Industry 3.0 practices, the below points are a good start:

Management Understanding:

- When adopting new practices whereas it is Industry 3.0 or Industry 4.0, it requires teams to be on board starting with a management team of the company. Therefore, make sure before moving anywhere first, the key members of the organization understand and are on board with the changes that are about to happen.

Connected Organization:

- We are pretty sure you have heard of IT but have you heard of OT? OT stands for operational technology which is crucial for a company’s day-to-day operations. In order to foster a seamless transition, it is important OT and the IT department are able to seamlessly work together. For example, the collection of manufacturing data on its own does suffice, but within the context of an integrated scheduling system, it can be used to support the integration of IT and OT and increase production efficiency.

Step by step:

- One pattern we have noticed when examining different cases is that often companies feel pressured to implement Industry 4.0 and therefore, become very quickly overwhelmed. Furthermore, even small changes might make a big shift in your company dynamics and therefore, you wouldn’t want to disrupt the operation of your business to the point of not being functional. Taking smaller but well-thought-out steps will take you much farther in the long run even if you are moving slow a the beginning.

3. Strategy, strategy, strategy

A strategic plan will become your new best friend and something you will continuously think about and work on. The strategy in Industry 4.0 may be the most important jigsaw piece of them all. The reason is, there is countless number of technological advancements helping you get ahead however, not all of them fit your organization’s needs and strategic goals. To assess and choose the right path for your business is a crucial process that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Once you’ve defined your level of target maturity, it’s essential to lay out a detailed implementation plan that will help you achieve your objectives.

This serves several essential purposes. Not only does it help you address potential roadblocks that may arise, but it makes it easier to promote acceptance and navigate possible qualms in the team when it comes to Industry 4.0 adoption.

4. Inclusive Ecosystem

You may be ready for Industry 4.0 but if your organization isn’t the implementation will end sooner than it started. It is important to create an ecosystem in which digital and physical elements of the business are interconnected and can communicate seamlessly and effectively. This is one of many things that is essential for the successful implementation of Industry 4.0 in your business. Building the interconnected ecosystem will also at the same time enable you to identify inefficiencies in the process and eliminate them before they cause too much harm.

5. Continuous Improvement

The keywords of Industry 4.0 could be collaboration, innovation and improvement. Establishing the mindset to thrive for continuous improvement will put you on the right path for the future.

This may mean that you are investing in training, education or improved automation which eventually will lead you to fully autonomous processes and the essence of Industry 4.0.

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