Robots operating autonomously on factory lines, drones delivering packages to doorsteps, 3D printed organs working alongside our own. Just 15 years ago, these ideas may have sounded like plot lines out of a sci-fi novel. Today, they’re in the news.
It’s evident that we’re on the precipice of something big. Industry 4.0, the term being used to describe these innovations in manufacturing, IT, and materials, will lead to sweeping changes.
Whether you see Industry 4.0 as an opportunity or a threat, it’s important to make provisions for the inevitable shift that is happening.
To take full advantage of this change, business owners need to commit to being a leader in this new environment. They also need to invest in the technology and skills that will make them competitive now and into the future.
As we move into Industry 4.0, here are four strategies to keep in mind.
1. Don’t ignore the inevitable.
New technologies are developing quickly. While it can be tempting to take a “wait and see” approach to the coming changes, executives and business owners need to remain vigilant. Monitor emerging technologies, watch what competitors are doing, and start thinking about how you’ll implement these new technologies.
2. Try before you buy.
In a fast-changing environment, it can be difficult to decide what technologies and trends will positively transform your business and what could end up an expensive and ineffective add-on. Planning and testing are key. Don’t buy the hype; buy the solution that will work for you.
3. Create a plan for retraining current employees, and recruiting for the skills you cannot train.
Industry 4.0 will require new skillsets, and manufacturers will need to attract and train the right talent. Existing training programs may need to be expanded to include new technologies that are introduced to the marketplace. Manufacturers also need to recruit for Industry 4.0, which may differ from how they have done it in the past. Instead of focusing on qualifications determined by degrees and certificates, companies should recruit for capabilities to succeed.
4 . Implement, test, revise, and repeat.
Staying ahead of the competition during Industry 4.0 will require constant iteration and flexibility. It’s not about buying software and then watching the new system play out. To compete in Industry 4.0, manufacturers must be flexible and agile in the face of change.
Interested in taking your operations to the cloud? Learn what manufacturers stand to gain from cloud computing in our white paper: “The Future of Smart Manufacturing: Why Businesses are Moving to the Cloud.”