Industry 4.0 In A Pandemic World

Apr 08, 2021

In our last manufacturing-focused blog, we explored the topic of the fourth industrial revolution known as Industry 4.0. This highly developed revolution focuses on the use of technology, automation, and digitization for operational efficiency. Many are now curious to know how this new phase of manufacturing was impacted by the disruption of the pandemic. With a vast shift from in-person work to a more remote setup, Industry 4.0 experienced a surge in the scaling of related technologies.

According to a survey by McKinsey, of their 400 respondents, 94% of respondents told noted that Industry 4.0 had helped them to keep their operations running during the crisis, and 56% percent said these technologies had been critical to their crisis responses. For those organizations who had already taken the leap to incorporate Industry 4.0 into their daily operations, the pandemic was a win situation. These early adopters were simply able to rely on their automation to overcome the loss of physical presence in their factories and at the same time utilize their real-time data analytics to assess their operations and make prompt adjustments.

For others, the pandemic was a wake-up call. Manufacturers who have yet to make the transition to Industry 4.0 were met with the stark reality of being unable to pivot during the disruption which left them negatively impacted. According to the McKinsey survey, 56% of respondents that hadn’t implemented Industry 4.0 technologies prior to COVID-19 found themselves constrained in their ability to respond to COVID-19 in the absence of digital technologies to support them.

While the pandemic made organizations realize the importance of Industry 4.0. It has also hindered progress. For some, the pandemic wreaked havoc on cash flow and talent creating a sort of catch-22. The need for automation and digitization is apparent, but without the capital to support the transition, manufacturers are stuck in a rock and a hard place.

So what is next? Manufacturers must first recognize the value-add of Industry 4.0 and commit to scaling their operations to include features of this forward-thinking revolution. Once committed, the next step is to develop a detailed plan. Given limited resources, having a strategic approach will ultimately maximize the benefits of smart technology without having to reprogram due to short-fixes. The biggest hurdle is making the decision to scale and take the first step. Whether it’s setting up your current system to pull data in an efficient manner for future data analytic software or focusing on best practices for remote working, committing to Industry 4.0 is the first step. Don’t make the mistake of discounting Industry 4.0, it could be deadly in a time of disruption. Organizations that learned from the pandemic, have embraced this new revolution, and can be nimble during uncertainty are those who will survive and thrive.

Categories: COVID-19, Manufacturing & Distribution

The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Industry 4.0

Mar 10, 2021

While many industries experience change and opportunity, manufacturing companies are embracing one in particular: Industry 4.0. This initiative joins Information Technology (IT) with Operational Technology (OT) to improve processes, increase automation, and support data exchange.

Industry 4.0 is often used interchangeably with the notion of the fourth industrial revolution. It is characterized by, among others, 1) more automation than in the previous revolution, 2) the linking of the physical and digital world through cyber-physical systems, enabled by Industrial IoT, 3) a shift to smart products and automation to define production steps, 4) closed-loop data models and control systems and 4) customize data and dashboards

Industry 4.0 is comprised of eight technology sectors that inspire new ways of thinking and working, Additive Manufacturing & Advanced Materials, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Big Data, Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, Modeling, Simulation, Visualization & Immersion, Robotics, and the Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) are the key aspects of Industry 4.0.

There are numerous advantages to entering the fourth industrial revolution, each of which can have a great impact on your business. The pursuit of more efficient, customer-centric processes paired with Industry 4.0 pushes past optimization and leads to new opportunities and innovation.

Here are some insights into a few of the benefits of Industry 4.0:

  • Enhanced Productivity – Optimization and automation will lead to saved costs, increased profitability, limited waste, reduced opportunity for delays and errors, faster production, and overall improved function of the value chain.
  • Real-Time Optimization – Customers at every step of the value chain expect good products produced fast. By increasing automation, production increases to real-time operation leading to satisfying increased expectations while keeping the process moving forward.
  • Increased Business Continuity – Predictable and preventive maintenance as a result of digital technology means less downtime and fewer expenditures
  • Higher Product Quality – Cross-collaboration between departments and the ease of data sharing means improvement and modifications are made quickly which results in a higher quality of product
  • Lower Costs – Automation and system integrations also mean a reduction in waste, efficient use of resource and materials, reduction of downtime which ultimately leads to lower overall operating costs
  • Improved Agility – With real-time data available at your fingertips, being able to forecast and pivot become much easier
  • Innovation – Increased visibility across production lines, distribution chains, and supply chains allow for innovation and improvement whether it be for process enhancement or new product development.

There’s no doubt Industry 4.0 has enabled manufacturers to increase operational visibility, reduce costs, expedite production times, and deliver exceptional customer support. Over the coming months, William Vaughan Company is going to explore various topics involving the importance of this new era, strategies to implement, and ways to leverage Industry 4.0 to help you lead in the markets where you compete. Stay tuned for more on Industry 4.0.

Categories: Manufacturing & Distribution