The 2020 pandemic saw hospitals using robots to monitor patients in the absence of medical staff, tech companies using their 3D-printing capabilities to manufacture the test swabs, a household appliance manufacturer making ventilators while a fashion brand made protective masks. These are all companies that had different goals or manufactured different products but made the shift to making something completely new that was needed in a matter of days. These shifts are possible only when organizations embrace digital transformation and be more agile and flexible when it comes to leveraging technology for problem solving.
While Industry 4.0 has been implemented in places in pockets; the pandemic and the resulting crisis accelerated the adoption of the next-gen technologies. It has now become a must-have for business continuity. So, let us look at some interesting points that highlight the post-COVID landscape.
Accelerated growth of the Industry 4.0
Manufacturing companies, across industries and sizes, have expedited the implementation of Industry 4.0 in their processes. A report found that 45 per cent of US manufacturers said that digitalization has been essential for them to respond to the pandemic, while another 53 per cent expect the adoption of Industry 4.0 to accelerate due to their experiences.
The pandemic underscored the need to modernize. Apart from an operational efficiency perspective, customers expect designs that can be customized and quickly delivered. Enterprises must meet these demands or else risk losing business. Production flexibility and remote work are some of the key priorities for manufacturers now and going digital will help them achieve this.
Talent strategies for a digital world
A recent industry survey of manufacturing and supply-chain professionals found that 90 per cent plan to invest in talent for digitalization. A mindset and culture of continuous learning will have to be adopted across the hierarchy in all enterprises. In the new normal, this is not a choice.
We need to look at our business models holistically, from design to production to services. In doing so, all available technologies, for Industry 4.0, must be evaluated to maximize the traditional and modern key performance indicators. Companies will need to reskill and re-examine their operations and maybe even do a complete overhaul. This will be necessary and will pay off in the long run.
Operational efficiency journey is critical for success
While adopting new technology is always a challenge, this process can become even more difficult as most businesses already have a set of rigid systems in place. As a first step, they need to find a strategic partner who can perform an in-depth analysis and help them identify the operations and processes that require an upgrade. Having a strategic consulting partner helps enterprises set the right foundation before implementing new processes or incurring high costs for models that do not have the right impact. Industry 4.0 will ride over and above an organization’s operational efficiency journey to further enhance their efficiency. Hence, a firm foundation is required to ensure the enterprise’s success into the Industry 4.0 journey.
Industry 4.0 technologies have given a boost to the advent of smart manufacturing worldwide and solutions such as IoT, AI, analytics and automation have taken on a whole new degree of significance. As the saying “Survival of the fittest” goes, enterprises that remain agile, build resilience into their operations and develop smart and autonomous systems will successfully take the lead. Digital is not an option for operational efficiency, but a route that enhances operations, increases customer satisfaction and lowers costs. Industry 4.0 will help enterprises on this journey. As a first step, get the right strategy from the right partner in your journey. After all, the right strategy delivers the correct result.