Despite heavy investments in technologies, many Industry 4.0 initiatives fail to deliver the promised benefits. Based on experiences from manufacturing clients across the globe, these are my five findings on where manufacturers need to focus to reap the benefits.
While Industry 4.0 has been on everyone’s agenda for a long time, few organizations have realized tangible business benefits. As I work with clients, I frequently see the same mistakes being repeated. If you’re determined not to fall into the same trap, these are the five areas you need to take into consideration:
1. Put people and processes at the center
Industry 4.0 isn’t just about technology. Successful organizations are focusing on new operating models, changing business processes and upskilling people to derive maximum value. A whole new approach to workforce development is required, according to a recent Economist Impact/Cognizant study.
It needs to be embedded, scalable and linked together within the Industry 4.0 framework; if you ignore people and processes, you risk ending up with a tech debt only and no return on the investments. This is a real risk because many initiatives are driven from the tech side rather than the business side.
2. Set goals and prioritize
Start with the end goal in mind! The organizations that have identified the business use cases and have a prioritized roadmap have been most successful with Industry 4.0. Once you identify a business use case, also focus on the complete value stream. Many do the other way around and initiate tech changes even before they have identified business goals.
3. Use best-in-class blueprints
I meet manufacturers that are keen to show me their latest innovation. Quite often it stands alone in a corner. Why isn’t it scaled up and part of the overall manufacturing process? Because they have bought something without thinking about the whole picture.
Industry 4.0 adoption shouldn’t be treated as an innovation project in isolation. To ensure success, organizations need to have the right foundations. It is pertinent that they use proven scalable reference architectures based on best-in-class industry blueprints.
4. Bring in the ecosystem
Industry 4.0 frameworks are an ecosystem play. It’s all about connected products and processes and if it stays within your walls only, initiatives won’t work. It’s like buying a smart fridge in Africa; if you don’t have developed a complete ecosystem, the fridge won’t deliver any value.
Successful organizations have identified the value chain and have ensured they bring the ecosystem they operate in with them on the journey. They need to include their suppliers, partners and customers in the transformation journey.
5. Ensure supporting tech is there
It’s important to ensure that adequate investments are made in the supporting technologies important for the success of Industry 4.0 implementation e.g., 5G, cloud and Master Data Management (MDM).
Industry 4.0 relies on massive data flows between systems and organizations. Organizations can’t afford to forget the importance of capable and secure networks. They also need to manage data quality at the source; as due to the large volumes of data it’s much harder to manage data issues downstream.
Last but not least: remember that Industry 4.0 is a framework and that you can’t solve everything at once. You can learn more about Cognizant’s manufacturing practice and solutions here.