How to Transition to Industry 4.0 with Internet of Things (IoT)
The fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0, is here. Industry 1.0 was defined by the replacement of human labour with water and steam power; Industry 2.0 was defined by electric power; Industry 3.0 by the introduction of computers; and Industry 4.0 by the introduction of IoT-connected devices (including and enabling automation, cloud computing, cognitive computing and artificial intelligence).
But how can businesses make the transition and grab a share of the projected multitrillion-dollar gains from the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)?
Embrace the revolution
The first step is embracing the change and accurately evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your business in the digital revolution.
Research market trends, talk to third parties and do a stocktake to determine which systems will be needed to make the transition. Use big data to find pain points in your organisation and how to eradicate them.
Analyse customer needs and how your business can improve product customization, flexibility and speed.
A clear business plan and strategy will be key to getting support from stakeholders and securing the necessary budget. Manufacturers should not look at IT as a cost centre, but rather a profit centre that can enhance efficiencies and boost productivity.
Get the team and tools you need
Success in the new environment may require new skills and new employees, such as digital innovation managers and user-interface designers.
It also requires committed leadership, such as an executive in charge of digital transformation or a group that manages the integration of new products, platforms and services. Without the right leadership, your reform efforts may be stymied.
It is also important to build an infrastructure that will facilitate the changes, incorporating new technologies and methods, including potentially new digital tools such as Oracle’s IoT Cloud, which allows for the development of ‘intelligent’ supply chains.
Find the right partners
Enlist the support of third-party suppliers in your internal revolution by sourcing the necessary systems, technology and hardware suppliers.
Examples of such tools include Danish water-pump manufacturer Grundfos’ use of Microsoft Azure, a cloud service, to help accurately predict when maintenance is needed for its pumps. Dell’s IoT solution has been used by Arrow Enterprise to collect, process, store and analyse energy management data in real-time, allowing it to save on electricity costs.
Prepare to fail
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Be prepared for hiccups along the way, even failures, by planning accordingly and being flexible enough to respond to changes.
Ultimately, the path towards Industry 4.0 will be different for every manufacturer, since not all have the resources to jump headfirst into the future.
The long-term productivity and global competitiveness of manufacturing is dependent on its successful transition to the Fourth Industrial Revolution, according to analysts. However, businesses should not rest on their laurels.
Japan has already mapped out a vision for realising ‘Society 5.0’ in which big data collected by IoT will be converted into a new type of intelligence by AI, reaching every corner of society.
For manufacturers, transitioning to the Industry 4.0 revolution might not be easy, but it’s not a matter of choice for businesses that wish to remain competitive in the global market. Contact us, to learn more about Industry 4.0 and how to successfully transition to this new era of technology.