Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 has become a buzz word that is hard to ignore in the manufacturing industry. It seems to consume webinar topics and headlines for popular magazines. When you type “Industry 4.0” into the Google search bar the results might seem a little daunting. Upon some investigation, your search results might bring up phrases like “Cyber-Physical Systems” and “Cloud Computing”. While the sheer amount of information and the language used to explain this trend is slightly overwhelming, it doesn’t mean that your implementation of Industry 4.0 needs to be.

Here are the 4 things you REALLY need to know about Industry 4.0:

What is it?
Forget all the complicated lingo. The Industry 4.0 concept is all about using the latest technology to help automate your processes.

The Industrial Internet of Things is Important
The “Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)” is the ability for your machines to be connected to each other via sensors that feed information from one machine to another. This connection allows for quicker and more efficient job production.

It Can Come With Challenges
Just like with any other new process at work, there are some challenges that need to be recognized. The first most obvious hurdle is the cost. If you don’t currently have the updated machinery needed to run this updated process you will need to invest. However, once the investment is made, it has the potential to save you a massive amount of money in the future (see point #4). According to Forbes Magazine, in the automotive industry, one minute of downtime costs an average of $22,000. This is a staggering amount that can make a big difference to your bottom line if that downtime is substantially cut down by automating processes. A second concern is IT security. With all new technology comes loop holes and it will be important that your company has an IT professional who can help protect your data. Data is the backbone to successfully implementing Industry 4.0, along with storage and analytics, so it is important to have a team that is well equipped for the integration.

It’s Worth More Than You Think

In January 2015, a study released by Accenture reported that an industrial-scale version of the Internet of Things / Industry 4.0, could add about $14.2 trillion (around £9.54 trillion) to the world economy over the next 15 years.

Changing processes and integrating new technologies can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Keeping current with industry standards and trends are what will keep you innovative and help you win on quality, performance, and customers over your competitors.