Industry 4.0 refers to a new phase in the industrial revolution that focuses heavily on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning, and real-time data. Industry 4.0, also known as IIoT or smart manufacturing, integrates physical production and operations with smart digital technology, machine learning, and big data to create a more holistic, better-connected ecosystem for companies focused on manufacturing and supply chain management. While every company and organization operating today is different, they all face the same challenge—the need for connectivity and access to real-time information from all processes, partners, products, and people.
It is in this area where Industry 4.0 intervenes.
Industry 4.0 is not just investing in new technology and tools to improve manufacturing efficiency; It’s about revolutionizing the way your entire business operates and grows. This resource will provide you with a detailed overview of the topic of Industry 4.0 and IIoT, as well as information on the following:
The world of manufacturing is changing. To survive and thrive now, you have to be willing to invest in Industry 4.0. This resource will help you get started.
The evolution of the industry from 1.0 to 4.0
Before delving deeper into the what, why, and how of Industry 4.0, it is beneficial to first understand how exactly manufacturing has evolved since the 19th century. There are four major industrial revolutions that the world has experienced or continues to experience today.
The first industrial revolution
The first industrial revolution occurred between the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century. During this period, manufacturing evolved from a focus on manual labor performed by people and with the assistance of working animals to an optimized form of labor performed by people through the use of water- or steam-powered engines and other types of tools and machinery.
The Second Industrial Revolution
At the beginning of the 20th century, the world entered a second industrial revolution with the introduction of steel and the use of electricity in factories. The introduction of electricity allowed manufacturing companies to increase efficiency and made factory machinery more dynamic. It was during this phase that mass production concepts, such as an assembly line, were introduced as a way to increase productivity.
The third industrial revolution
Beginning in the late 1950s, the Third Industrial Revolution began to emerge, as manufacturing companies began to incorporate more electronic technology—and eventually, computers—into their factories. During this period, manufacturing companies began to experience a shift that placed less emphasis on analog and mechanical technology and more on digital technology and automation software.
The fourth industrial revolution, or Industry 4.0
In recent decades, a fourth industrial revolution has emerged, known as Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 emphasizes the digital technology of recent decades and takes it to a whole new level with the help of interconnectivity through the Internet of Things (IoT), access to real-time data, and the introduction of cyber-physical systems. Industry 4.0 offers a more comprehensive, interrelated, and holistic approach to manufacturing. It connects the physical with the digital and enables better collaboration and access for all departments, partners, suppliers, products, and people. Industry 4.0 empowers business owners to better control and understand every aspect of their operation and allows them to leverage instant data to increase productivity, improve processes, and drive growth.
IIoT Basics and Glossary of Terms
Hundreds of concepts and terms relate to IIoT and Industry 4.0, but there are 12 essential words and phrases to know before deciding if you want to invest in Industry 4.0 solutions for your company:
- Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP): are Business Process Management tool that can be used to manage information within an organization.
- IoT: means Internet of Things, a concept that refers to the connections between physical objects such as sensors or machines and the Internet.
- IIoT: stands for Industrial Internet of Things, a concept that refers to the connections between people, data, and machines as they relate to manufacturing.
- Big Data: Refers to large sets of structured or unstructured data that can be collected, stored, organized, and analyzed to reveal patterns, trends, associations, and opportunities.
- Artificial intelligence (AI): is a concept that refers to the ability of computers to perform tasks and make decisions that, historically, would require some level of human intelligence.
- M2M: stands for machine to machine and refers to communication between two separate machines over wireless or wired networks.
- Digitization: refers to the process of collecting and converting different types of information into a digital format.
- Smart factory: is a factory that invests in and benefits from Industry 4.0 technology, solutions, and approaches.
- Machine learning: refers to the ability of computers to learn and improve on their own through artificial intelligence, without being expressly told or programmed to do so.
- Cloud Computing: Refers to the practice of using interconnected remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process information.
- Real-time data processing: refers to the capabilities of computer systems and machines to continuously and automatically process data and provide results and insights in real-time or near real-time.
- Ecosystem: In manufacturing terms, it refers to the potential connectivity of the entire operation: inventories and planning, financial issues, customer relationships, supply chain management, and manufacturing execution.
- Cyber-physical systems (CPS): Also sometimes known as cyber manufacturing, refers to the manufacturing environment generated by Industry 4.0 that offers real-time data collection, analysis, and transparency into every aspect of the manufacturing operation.
Now that you have a better understanding of some of the key concepts related to Industry 4.0, you’re ready to dive deeper into how smart manufacturing can revolutionize the way you run and grow your business.
Smart manufacturing use cases
One of the best ways to better understand the concept of smart manufacturing is to think about how it can apply to your company, or a company similar to yours. Here are three cases that can help you understand the value of Industry 4.0 in a manufacturing operation:
- 1. Supply Chain Management and Optimization: Industry 4.0 solutions give companies greater insight, control, and data visibility across the supply chain. By leveraging supply chain management capabilities, companies can deliver products and services to the market faster, cheaper, and of better quality to gain an advantage over less efficient competitors.
- 2. Maintenance/Predictive Analytics: Industry 4.0 solutions give manufacturing companies the ability to predict when potential problems may arise before they arise. Without IoT systems in place in your factory, preventative maintenance occurs on a routine or timed basis. In other words, it is a manual task. With IoT systems in place, preventive maintenance is much more automated and streamlined. The systems can identify when problems will arise or when machinery needs to be fixed and can help you resolve potential problems before they become more serious problems. Predictive analytics allows companies to not just ask reactive questions, like “What happened?” or “Why did it happen?”, but also proactive questions, such as “ “What will happen?” and What can we do to prevent that from happening?” This type of analytics can enable manufacturing companies to shift from preventative maintenance to predictive maintenance.
- 3. Asset tracking and optimization: Industry 4.0 solutions help manufacturing companies be more efficient with assets at each stage of the supply chain, allowing them to better maintain inventory, quality, and sales opportunities. optimization related to logistics. With IoT up and running in the factory, employees can get better visibility into their assets globally. Standard asset management tasks such as asset transfers, dispositions, reclassifications, and adjustments can be streamlined and managed centrally in real time.
The point of reviewing these use cases is to help you imagine and start thinking about how smart manufacturing can be integrated into your organization. How do you decide if Industry 4.0 is right for you?
Who is Industry 4.0 suitable for?
How do you know when or if your company should invest in Industry 4.0?
If you can check off most of the items on this list, it’s probably worth starting to evaluate Industry 4.0 technologies and solution providers and allocate the necessary resources for their implementation:
- You are in a particularly competitive industry with many competitors familiar with Industry 4.0 technology.
- You are having difficulty recruiting staff to fill vacant positions in your organization.
- You want greater visibility throughout the supply chain.
- You want to identify and address issues before they become more serious problems.
- You want to increase efficiency and profitability throughout your organization.
- You want everyone on your team to have informed, up-to-date, and relevant views of your production and business processes.
- You want richer, more timely analytics.
- Need help digitizing and understanding information.
- You want to improve customer satisfaction and experience.
- You want to improve the quality of the product or keep it intact.
- You want a system of Enterprise Resource Planning more integrated that encompasses not only inventory and planning but also financial issues, customer relations, supply chain management, and manufacturing execution.
- You want to have a consistent, flexible view of business and production operations that is tailored to specific areas or users in your organization.
- You want real-time insights that help you make faster, better decisions about your business every day.
Still not sure if Industry 4.0 is right for you? Read on to learn some specific ways Industry 4.0 can help you and your business.
Benefits of adopting an Industry 4.0 model
Industry 4.0 encompasses the entire product life cycle and supply chain—design, sales, inventory, planning, quality, engineering, customer service, and field service. They all share informed, up-to-date, and relevant views on business and production processes and richer and more timely analytics.
The following is a quick, non-exhaustive list of some of the benefits of adopting an Industry 4.0 model for your company:
- Industry 4.0 makes it more competitive, especially against disruptors like Amazon. As companies like Amazon continue to optimize logistics and supply chain management, you need to invest in technology and solutions that help you improve and optimize your operation. To stay competitive, you have to have systems and processes in place that allow you to provide your consumers and customers with the same level of service (or better) that they could get from a company like Amazon.
- Industry 4.0 makes it more attractive to the younger workforce. Companies that invest in modern and innovative Industry 4.0 technologies are better positioned to attract and retain new workers.
- Industry 4.0 makes your team stronger and more collaborative. Companies that invest in Industry 4.0 solutions can increase efficiency, drive collaboration across departments, enable predictive and prescriptive analytics, and enable people including operators, managers, and executives to benefit even more from data. in real-time and the intelligence to make better decisions while managing their daily responsibilities.
- Industry 4.0 allows you to address potential problems before they become serious problems. Predictive analytics, real-time data, internet-connected machinery, and automation can help you be more proactive when it comes to addressing and resolving potential supply chain management and maintenance issues.
- Industry 4.0 allows you to cut costs, improve profits, and drive growth. Industry 4.0 technology helps you manage and optimize all aspects of your manufacturing and supply chain processes. It gives you access to the real-time data and insights you need to make smarter, faster decisions about your business that can ultimately drive efficiency and profitability across your entire operation.
As mentioned, this list is not exhaustive—there are many more benefits to consider. To read about more benefits of Industry 4.0, investigate our page.
Challenges to consider and overcome
As you consider whether or not you should invest in Industry 4.0, you may be thinking about some of the potential challenges associated with incorporating new technologies and processes into your organization. You are not alone. These are some of the most common questions many business owners ask when it comes to smart manufacturing:
Question #1: Will our business data and customer information be secure?
As the threat of cyber hacking continues to intensify year after year, many businesses are concerned that investing in cloud-based technology and moving data outside of their walls could leave their businesses and their data vulnerable to attackers. They keeps information secure because it benefits from deep security expertise and because it implements strict cybersecurity measures for all clients investing in Industry 4.0 technology.
Question #2: Will I be able to get support from my team?
The answer to this question is yes. While new technology is being implemented and it may be difficult for some people to accept and adapt to a new business model, you can get support from your team by clearly setting expectations from the beginning, and establishing the goal and benefits of investing in Industry 4.0 technology. and be open and transparent with your team throughout the implementation process.
Question #3: Do we have the resources and staff to implement and manage this Industry 4.0 technology?
When you invest in cloud-based technology, you don’t have to rely as much on your IT team to manage and maintain systems. Instead, you benefit from regular updates and maintenance performed by the service provider. For example, to avoid the constant implementation and update challenges that ERP has historically presented, some companies choose cloud ERP or software as a service (SaaS). Similar to cloud storage, the cloud ERP provider assumes the costs that IT would incur to build and maintain the infrastructure. A cloud ERP system provides all the benefits of an ERP without relying on dedicated IT infrastructure or staff and frees up those resources to be used on other IT tasks.
Question #4: Will I know how to leverage data to make more informed decisions?
Yeah! They can provide you with the knowledge, training, and documentation you need to understand how to use data to change, improve, and grow your business.
How they can help your business
They can help you implement Industry 4.0 technology in your manufacturing company. We provide flexible, industry-specific software designed around the needs of our manufacturing, distribution, retail, and service customers.
To build a sustainable, scalable business in today’s business environment, you need to use tools that help you streamline tasks, increase productivity and collaboration, and leverage real-time data.