An Introduction to Industry 4.0

The fourth industrial revolution is upon us. Better known as Industry 4.0, the digitization of manufacturing, which focuses on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning and real-time data, is driving significant transformation in the way industry produces products.

From the first industrial revolution, which involved the transition from human and animal power to mechanization through water and steam power, to the mass production and assembly lines using oil, gas and electricity, to the third industrial revolution, which added computers, advanced telecommunications and data analysis, the fourth industrial revolution will take what was started in the third with the adoption of computers and automation and enhance it with smart and autonomous systems fueled by data and machine learning.

Applications employed as part of Industry 4.0 can help deliver value across every area of the factory. Anchored by cloud computing, manufacturers are integrating new technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), analytics and artificial intelligence into their operations, including engineering, supply chain, production, sales and distribution and service. These digital technologies lead to increased automation, predictive maintenance, self-optimization of process improvements and, above all, a new level of efficiency and responsiveness to customers not previously possible.

Digital transformations are revolutionizing all aspects of manufacturing, touching not just processes and productivity but also people. The right applications of technology can lead to more empowered decision making; new opportunities for upskilling, reskilling and cross-functional collaboration; better talent attraction and retention; and improved workplace safety and employee satisfaction.

By pinpointing high-leverage areas across the manufacturing value chain and deploying an implementation roadmap successfully, Industry 4.0 solutions can deliver substantial returns. According to the consulting firm McKinsey, it’s not uncommon to see 30 to 50 percent reductions in machine downtime, 10 to 30 percent increases in throughput, 15 to 30 percent improvements in labor productivity and 85 percent more accurate forecasting. Customers also see the impact through reduced manufacturing lead times, right-first-time launch management, and improved customer service and complexity management.

References

https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/09/02/what-is-industry-4-0-heres-a-super-easy-explanation-for-anyone/?sh=34121da99788

https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/operations/our-insights/capturing-the-true-value-of-industry-four-point-zero

https://us.nttdata.com/en/services/consulting-services/manufacturing-consulting

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