Industry 4.0: A Drive for Change Management

The market landscape is constantly changing; challenging businesses with new margin pressures, dynamic growth outlooks, and shifting customer demands. In this environment, operational performance and productivity management play a much more pivotal role in providing a competitive edge to the companies. In this backdrop, industry leaders need to continuously understand, adopt, and harness advanced technologies to help drive improvement, growth, and business evolution within their organizations.

We are living through the fourth industrial revolution, where physical and digital worlds come together in perfect synergy. Terms such as smart factory, Industry 4.0, connected manufacturing are used interchangeably to describe this graceful convergence of digital and physical worlds. Industry 4.0 helps companies develop, implement, and drive operational excellence powered by advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing, robotics, 3D printing, the Internet of Things in a connected and complex environment. Despite the proven benefits of Industry 4.0, most companies are yet to harness the full potential of these tools.

What are leaders saying about Industry 4.0 in their organizations?

A recent Deloitte survey report revealed that 86 percent of manufacturers believe Industry 4.0 will be the primary driver of competition in 2025.[1]

However…

  • 65 percent of manufacturers surveyed in the study made no progress in Industry 4.0 initiatives. 19% of manufacturers report that they “haven’t even thought about it.”
  • 33 percent of factory leaders cite a lack of required information technology (IT) infrastructure, causing delays in Industry 4.0 transformation.
  • 27 percent of factory leaders cite difficulties integrating IT and operations technology (OT) as a significant hurdle to Industry 4.0 initiatives.

How will organizations benefit from implementing Industry 4.0?

Key enablers include:

  • Providing real-time monitoring of production performance across their supply chain network with visible progress reports and making decision making faster.
  • Harnessing the needed information and technologies to improve their physical process control and solve problems faster.
  • Leveraging advanced analytics to refine processes and master production plans
  • Enabling the production process to be flexible, adaptive and proactive thus reducing lead time, cutting costs and improving quality.
  • Facilitating end-to-end integration with different levels of suppliers and customers

What can we do to successfully manage Industry 4.0 transformations?

Disruptive technologies are becoming the common answer for change, but technology alone will not solve the problem. In this shifting market landscape, we need to bring a renewed focus on value. We need to understand and redefine value (i.e., value-added and non-value-added work) in the context of technology acceleration. Industry leaders need to unlock value and develop bold aspirations to achieve higher productivity, superior growth, and evolving business models. Once we understand the value proposition, then define bold aspirations and a transformation road map to get there. People and technology will play a part in the transformation.

At IndustryX, our mission is to challenge this outlook and provide the necessary support to make transition to smart factories easier. Our services include transformation projects, workforce development, and enabling breakthrough ideas into reality.

Companies taking advantage of the IndustryX smart factory initiatives can see sustainable productivity improvements, higher manufacturing reliability, a digitally enabled shop floor and a more engaged and empowered workforce. Learn more at our website: www.industryx.org.

The full Deloitte MAPI survey report is available here

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[1] Wellener et al. (2019). Deloitte and MAPI Smart Factory Study: Capturing value through the digital journey. Deloitte Insights and MAPI, September 2019.

Egbe-Etu Etu is a Rumble Fellow and Ph.D. candidate in the Industrial & Systems Engineering department at Wayne State University. He holds a master’s degree in industrial engineering, with which he explored the efficiency of emergency departments (ED) during normal operating conditions. His current research focuses on developing data-driven, multi-scale simulation optimization models for healthcare operations management with an emphasis on improving the ED’s performance in response to a medical surge. In August 2020, his research paper received the best paper award for the healthcare track in the 5th North American Industrial Engineering and Operations Management Conference. He is currently the technical content lead at IndustryX.

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