Industry 4.0, also called cyber-industry or intelligent factory, is becoming a fashion-expression in the business world. But, what is this all about?
Digital transformation is creating a great impact in the company organization, production and management of the relationship with clients. The digital marketing, the Web and the mobile devices caught our attention during the last years. But the greatest impact of the digital phenomenon is now in the digitalisation of industries. Some even dare to call it the forth industrial revolution…
What is industry 4.0?
When we talk about industry 4.0, we talk about the digital transformation applyed to industrial production, the introduction of new digital technologies in fabrics. By using sensors and other information systems we can obtain the digitalisation of production processes making them more effective and efficient.
So simple and so complex
Not long ago, there was a general idea that industrial companies have been living in a parallel reality to digitalisation. Big mistake!
We were able to observe something similar with other industries that initially put resistance to the inevitable evolution. The music industry, for example, was one of the most obvious. They saw this change as a threat. Also media in general and without going any further, logistics would be an example too. All of them are now fully adapted to the digital phenomenon.
The same happened to many other industries that suffered because the organization struggled against a change of mentality in front of the evolution of the digital world. This is because the competitiveness of enterprises is at stake: the possibility of offering personalized customer service; ability to design customized products and services; ability to adapt to demand; more profitable production; ability to collect, analyze and exploit information, etc.
Industry 4.0 is a very broad concept; to understand the scope a bit better we could divide it into eight main areas that allow the operation of this complicated gear:
- Big data
- Cloud Computing
- IOT (Internet of Things)
- Augmented reality
- Cyber security
- Simulation and prototyping
- Process integration
A key element is to achieve greater flexibility and individualisation of manufacturing processes. Manufacturers must adapt products to the needs of individual customers and each product will be different. We are talking about a hyper-differentiation in industrial production.
All this must be done by reducing costs and improving production times, thus raising the efficiency of the value chain. We are therefore facing a great challenge.
The great challenge of industry 4.0: People
To apply all the technologies we discussed before is not an easy task. It is a long and complex process to integrate all of this into a business. It cannot be done from one day to another. It has to be done gradually.
However, the great challenge of the 4.0 industry is in 4.0 people. One of the objectives of the industry 4.0 is to create coexistence for people and machines in the same environment, harmoniously interacting in a natural process, unlike now. Today the factories have robots on one side and on the other side they have people that do not participate in cooperative processes. Industry 4.0 is about to break this barrier, creating a co-working environment for the same process and make it more effective and efficient.
Accept the digital transformation requires a change of mentality, a new culture and willingness to change … To adapt to this new environment will not be an easy task for professionals. But there is no choice: adapt or die.
Here some links to interesting videos about industry 4.0: