Manufacturing companies are challenged with workers, demand and materials due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The disruption has placed an importance on deglobalization and relocalization of manufacturing activities. Industry 4.0 technologies were already transforming manufacturing and improving operational efficiencies, however the pandemic has accelerated the adoption of these technologies. Now Industry 4.0 is supporting overall supply chain resilience that is one of the major concerns of companies.

McKinsey & Company offered its perspective on disruption within manufacturing (Agrawal et al. 2020). They characterized Industry 4.0 in four foundational clusters of technologies: (1) Connectivity and computational power; (2) Analytics and intelligence; (3) Human-machine interaction; and (4) Advanced engineering. As we move forward in the age of technology, it is key to use the power of connectivity, such as sensors, internet of things, cloud and blockchain, which will unlock intelligent data-driven decision-making capabilities. This will provide the much needed help for manufacturing companies to make quick and reliable decisions. In addition, technologies like extended reality can be applied to enhance human-machine interaction alongside advanced engineering technologies like additive manufacturing and renewable energy.


Mayank Agrawal, Karel Eloot, Matteo Mancini, Alpesh Patel, Industry 4.0: Reimagining Manufacturing Operations after COVID-19”. McKinsey & Company, July 2020.

Bhaskar Aggarwal received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Florida Institute of Technology and is working toward completing his master’s degree in industrial technology and operations with a specialization in supply chain management from the Illinois Institute of Technology. Bhaskar is a highly driven, self-motivated individual with experience in manufacturing, sustainability and supply chain. He has worked on multiple projects regarding sustainability, solar panel project simulation for net zero energy building and energy audits. His career interests include innovation, automation and green technology.

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