The fourth Industrial Revolution – Industry 4.0 – is here. Digital technologies are transforming manufacturing: improving safety, productivity, efficiency, quality, sustainability and operations. Companies are already leveraging smart technologies and making the digital transformation leap, but some still hesitate. So, how can you embrace Industry 4.0 in manufacturing to create benefits for your business, your employees, your supply chain, and your customers?
Defining Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 is disruptive by nature. It urges manufacturers to change, and change can be hard. Simply put, the fourth industrial revolution is the adoption of technological advances, particularly digital and mobile advances, to drastically reduce costs while significantly boosting quality, increasing worker safety and lowering carbon footprint, streamlining processes and bringing more creative solutions to market faster. The digital transformation at the heart of this part of the industrial revolution is changing entire business models, which makes it quite disruptive.
Ironically, one of the reasons that 72% of manufacturing decision makers cite for investing in fresh technology was to actually shield their companies from disruption! In other words, they are embracing positive disruption for the sake of improvements that help them avoid the negative disruptions—one major recent example being COVID-19. While many companies talked about digital transformation before the pandemic, those that had already embraced Industry 4.0 were more agile as shutdowns, social distancing requirements and supply chain disruptions hit. Digital transformation helped plants stay open and productive, in spite of ongoing pandemic-related challenges.
Embracing the Disruption of Industry 4.0 in Manufacturing
The Manufacturing Leadership Council also reported that while a majority of manufacturers are stepping forward into new technological advancements, 60 percent of their survey respondents still felt like they were falling behind the curve in understanding why and how to implement new technological solutions. Some of their main concerns include:
- Breaking down barriers between traditional organizational silos for more efficient communication and collaboration
- Fear of how technology might disrupt and impact current positions within the structure of companies
- A talent gap between their current workforce and the need to upskill to meet digital transformation
Drilling to the center of each of these concerns shows classic fear of change. But change is necessary for survival. The good news is that with the right solutions and collaboration, those changes and disruptions can actually improve all of those things:
- Technology can help remove communication barriers and lead to better problem-solving, more collaboration and better outcomes.
- Technology can provide newer, better opportunities to grow that older positions and structures can’t.
- As we’ve mentioned in recent blogs, the research shows that many in the manufacturing workforce today, even the older generations, are ready, willing and able to try newer technologies because they already use them in their daily lives.
The key to riding the disruptions to higher heights instead of breaking down is to devote some time, brain power and training to deciding on the right solutions to invest in, and to identify the technologies that will help the most. You don’t have to do it all at once, but it’s important to start now, or get left behind.
The Benefits of Industry 4.0
When making these decisions, consider the four major benefits of adopting digital solutions in your business:
First, digital transformation can drastically boost efficiency across processes and locations. Yes, it may be disruptive to change processes, but if a fresh, efficient process can improve efficiency and save money while improving quality and safety for employees and end customers, it’s a disruption you cannot afford to avoid.
The most important consideration for Industry 4.0 is to improve safety for workers. Solutions like Anvl can significantly reduce hazards in the workplace and improve the communication between supervisors and employees. This can quickly pinpoint potential hazards and neutralize them to protect more workers. IoT and sensor technology can help workers get the job done safely.
Quality is a major competitive issue where the right technology can give you a significant edge. It can help quality assurance catch more issues and even prevent them before they happen. Customers love when they can count on your product to meet consistent, high-level quality standards all the time.
Finally, Industry 4.0 advancements enable companies to pool the learning from humans and machines, data analytics and predictive insights to arrive at better, more holistic operations and decisions that will positively impact all the other areas: safety, quality and efficiency. Anvl’s solutions can help you use data analytics over time and identify improvements that may have been lost in the noise of rustling papers before. This provides significant ROI for the entire business, across multiple locations and operations—something that older, paper-based processes just can’t muster.
Embrace Industry 4.0 in Manufacturing with Anvl
Businesses don’t have to ride the disruption waves of Industry 4.0 alone, and choosing an expert partner with easy-to-use solutions can make the journey more enjoyable for everyone. Get crucial data and insights to improve safety, quality and operations today: request a demo, or talk to one of our experts about your unique goals and challenges today.