Industry 4.0 – How to awaken your Inner Rebel

Industry 4.0 how to awaken your inner rebel

Revolution… What comes to mind? Rebels with flags in the centre of a cosmopolitan city fighting their dictatorial leadership? But the undercurrent of the manufacturing industry is going through a relatively quiet revolution in comparison.

Say Industry 4.0 to most manufacturers and they have a vision of fully automated robotics, no humans in sight and data streaming from every corner of the factory into a cloud based artificial intelligence. Well yes, you can actually do that today, see Ocado for example.

It’s awe inspiring to witness and must give their owners that tingling sense of satisfaction of what they have achieved. But most manufacturers will unashamedly find that overwhelming. For the majority, industry 4.0 is living their own small piece of revolution through gradual iteration and innovation.

The industry 4.0 initiative was formalised in Germany in 2013 after receiving financial support from the government to encourage advancements in high-tech manufacturing, which in turn has enabled them to automate their factories and consistently reduce errors far earlier than their competitors. You can see this by the sheer domination of the luxury car market.

You would think the original industrialists like Isambard Kingdom Brunel would be up in arms that Great Britain relinquished their industrial crown. But all is not lost. Locate East Sussex business coach and former successful manufacturing director, Jim Fletcher, highlighted that while mass production may be moving further afield, the British have been particularly great at technical and innovative applications of manufacturing, or in other words ‘Advanced Manufacturing’, which is on the rise. What will allow us to truly shine is Industry 4.0. A recent government report states industry 4.0 could benefit the nation's manufacturing sector by £445 billion and create 175,000 jobs. This movement and the shift in the global market from globalised to hyper-local manufacturing, favouring the agile, dynamic and highly customisable manufacturing companies, will allow the UK to be a manufacturing powerhouse once again.

What is Industry 4.0? You’ll hear buzzwords such as Cybersecurity, Cloud, Big Data, Ai, IoT, AR/VR, Additive Manufacturing, Autonomous Robotics. But when you look at what Industry 4.0 really is, you’ll see it’s the culmination of existing technology becoming digitized, which in turn is enabling a higher level of inter-connectivity to provide a dynamic smart-factory that adapts upon changing requirements and environment stimuli. Data of the process is analysed in real-time to further improve upon the process autonomously. What technologies are involved are not what we are trying to achieve here and it may sound expensive but it doesn’t have to be cost prohibitive.

How can you awaken your inner industrial rebel? Here is a quick run-down of what you can do today.

  • Start to identify your weaknesses and inefficiencies, most manufacturers will recognise these by nagging problems they can’t seem to deal with. Then think “how can I improve that process?” The Japanese Kaizen ‘5 whys’ analysis is a good example of how you can do this.

  • Can any of these be solved with digital technologies? Turn that identification into an actionable digital strategy and roadmap. Simple is always better, lots of simpler iterative improvements are far better than sweeping changes that are not guaranteed to improve anything.
  • Once you know where you want to go, you’ll need to measure those improvements. Getting all the data out of your ‘data silos’ (disparate systems) using API’s to pull real-time information into a cloud-based data warehouse, enables you to analyse the data across your company and somewhere to benchmark. This Big Data stage that aggregates data from sales, marketing, purchasing, production etc. is a fundamental step to digital transformation.
  • To further enhance analysis, start by integrating IoT (internet of things) sensors for temperatures, vibrations, movement, anything that will severely affect your output and help you understand operational inefficiencies. You can even apply Artificial Intelligence to start tracking patterns within the data and predict the next breakdown.

Now with this data to hand, you can start to plan effectively on how you can spend money on new machinery and technology to get the most bang for your buck whilst knowing the revolution inside you is still burning. is a Digital Transformation & Software Development company, we are a Coast to Capital certified Growth Champion, we can provide a funded day of consultancy along with a bespoke digital strategy. Book a chat today.

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