Industry 4.0 is here and its derived innovations are only multiplying. In full effervescence, we will continue to witness a rapid evolution of technology as it keeps expanding to cover more intricate tasks. Contrary to some belief, these 4.0 advancements are not only reserved to manufacturing giants. Canadian manufacturers are, in fact, in a prime position to take full advantage of this digital transformation as Canada is home to various industries.
Switching to 4.0 manufacturing is part of the plan some organizations, but only a few have taken the leap as it remains worrisome for many. Manufacturers see the benefits associated with Industry 4.0 but are unsure of how to begin and are concerned about the return on investment. PwC states the following: "Globally, only 10% of companies in key sectors like auto manufacturing, consumer goods, electronics and industrial equipment, have been able to master the cultural, strategic and operational changes needed to support Industry 4.0." These organizations are labelled as digital champions. By integrating 4.0 technologies across their organizations, such as end-to-end digital platforms like IoT sensors and cloud-based software programs, they are able to better manage their processes as well as collect immediate insights.
A look into 4.0 ecosystems
For the digitization to be successful, champions must opt for a holistic approach and view their operations as a set of ecosystems in interaction with one another.
- Customer solutions ecosystem: Digital solutions for customers permit the collection of insights, such as patterns in consumer behaviour, and real-time information.
- Operations ecosystem: This ecosystem is the most significant to manufacturers, allowing them to reach greater efficiencies through every step of the value chain. Production data and insights are obtained with smart sensors while trends are explored and inconsistencies are identified with dashboards. Having access to real-time data is essential for 4.0 organizations as it serves as a better basis for decision making.
- Technology ecosystem: Under this ecosystem falls all technology within an organization, from CRM to cybersecurity solutions and entreprise applications. Technology is used to drive changes and choices, all while potentially enhancing daily activities. A company's business and digital strategy go hand in hand as technology powers strategy. Partners or strategic alliances often help leverage digital opportunities.
- People ecosystem: Any transformation one tries to implement will not be successful if it is not embraced by employees. They are the ones at the heart of change, driving it across the company. To foster the right people ecosystem, it'll require training, ups killing, performance management, recruitment, and more. Again according to PwC, more than 90% highly digitized companies have a person responsible of the employee experience.
How to get started
Transitioning to 4.0 can seem tedious and frightening given the risk and costs involved but it does not have to be. If approached in a methodical way that goes alongside the digital strategy of the organization, your shift can be executed without too many hurdles. Get started with these five steps:
- Identify a digital strategy champion
- Upskill your team
- Create a plan that builds momentum
- Develop an integrated operations model
- Take advantage of the new value chain
To read more on PwC's approach to digital champions, click here.