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.


You’ve heard our thoughts… We’d like to hear yours

The Schneider Downs Our Thoughts On blog exists to create a dialogue on issues that are important to organizations and individuals. While we enjoy sharing our ideas and insights, we’re especially interested in what you may have to say. If you have a question or a comment about this article – or any article from the Our Thoughts On blog – we hope you’ll share it with us. After all, a dialogue is an exchange of ideas, and we’d like to hear from you. Email us at [email protected].

Material discussed is meant for informational purposes only, and it is not to be construed as investment, tax, or legal advice. Please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, this information should be relied upon when coordinated with individual professional advice.

© 2023 Schneider Downs. All rights-reserved. All content on this site is property of Schneider Downs unless otherwise noted and should not be used without written permission.

our thoughts on
Frauds of the Rich and the Famous: The Star-studded Saga of Jennifer Shah
Frauds of the Rich and Famous: The FTX Collapse and the Chrisleys
Frauds of the Rich and Famous: Billy McFarland and The Fyre Festival
Fraud Week 2023: Frauds of the Rich and the Famous
Protect Your Manufacturers: 3 Common Cyber Attack Methods to Watch Out for in 2023
Digital Transformation in the Construction Industry – Why So Much Hesitation?
Register to receive our weekly newsletter with our most recent columns and insights.
Have a question? Ask us!

We’d love to hear from you. Drop us a note, and we’ll respond to you as quickly as possible.

Ask us
contact us

This site uses cookies to ensure that we give you the best user experience. Cookies assist in navigation, analyzing traffic and in our marketing efforts as described in our Privacy Policy.