According to McKinsey, "Industry 4.0 disrupts the value chain and that it requires companies to retink the way they do business. They also need to drive the digital transformation of their business to succeed in the new environment." And it goes on to site 5 pillars that are critical for the transformation:
* Companies need to manage and treat data as its most valuable assets.
* Companies need to build digital(full)capabilities.
* Companies need to initiate and enable collaboration.
* Companies need to manage cybersecurity (or they will loose their pants).
You will find a lot of definitions for Industrial Revolution 4.0 (IR 4.0) but suffice to say here that it is just a concept of automation brought about by recent technologies that will enable full automation in industrial processes. Not only that, industry 4.0 means everyone and every thing along the supply chain is connected (full digitisation along the supply chain). When we apply IR 4.0 to industries, we termed it as Industry 4.0, which is another way to look at manufacturing. More appropriate to call it smart manufacturong and smart manufacturing means making things at their most efficient way possible. Of course, automation is not a new concept as it was used in our industries many years ago. It is now updated with the likes of Collaborative Robots, Artificial Intelligence (with machine learning capabilities), Industrial Internet of Things (IioT), Big Data Analytics, Cloud Computing and Additive Manufacturing. When we talk about Industrial Revolution 4.0 (which was coined in Germany), we are talking about industry processes. That was how it started anyway. But today, we also have revolutions in the financial processes in the likes of using block chain technology to bring about decentralised ledger recordings of financial transactions which we termed Fintech. Then we also have revolutions in the way we bring about education which we termed Edutec.
What does Industrial Revolution 4.0 bring about?
With Industry 4.0 applied to manufacturing processes, we can expect an increase in efficiencies and thus productivity. Increase in efficiencies is brought about by computerisation and automation. It is now possible to make an assembly line fully automatic by utilising digital connections to control from end to end. This processing allows us to use less man power and thus less cost. You can now manage a manufacturing process just with one person controlling from a remote area. All necessary data about the manufacturing process will now be transmitted to your hand held device so that you will be able to decide what to do. That is the efficiency we are talking about. It is now very efficient and also very cheap to run. In short, because the whole world is in competition with each other, we have no choice but to be good at what we do so that we can have a better offer than the next guy.
However, when we embrace Industry 4.0 elements, we will need to increase our operational expenses as these Industry 4.0 elements don't come cheap. And when we make many components run together, we often have to face with teething problems which can at the end of the day increase in down time and thus incur greater expenses. Furthermore, you will need a lot of experimentations (read time) just to make them integrate successfully. You will now realise that we will have very little option not to go the Industry 4.0 way as it has become a borderless world when we talk about competition. So the better you are equipped the better it would be. And if you don't embrace Industry 4.0 elements, you will have no business to run. Governments all over the world are very concerned that their businesses do not adopt Industry 4.0 structures fast enough and they would like everybody on-board to make changes to their manufacturing processes as soon as they can afford, failing which will mean being left behind for good!