Why is it important?

In this new digital age, businesses have evolved to improve their cost efficiency, become customer centric and drive agility within the organisation. Industry 4.0 will help to meet these objectives.

Cost efficiency – CXP Group recently conducted a study where they found that 90% of European manufacturers consider unplanned downtime and emergency maintenance caused by sudden failures a major challenge. This can worsen when there are scarce skills as engineers and technicians decide to leave or retire thus the factory is left with a shortage of experience. To resolve these issues, companies can install machine learning based monitoring that can continuously monitor assets and predict maintenance requirements before a major breakdown occurs on the line.

Customer centric – In the digital age, the consumer has become much more demanding in terms of levels of service and product customisation. The impact of this is that CP companies need to become much more responsive and agile in how they produce products and services for their consumers.

Agility – To create an agile business will mean that factories need to invest in flexible production lines. New technologies need to be deployed such as robots and cobots to achieve this. A Cobot is a collaborative robot that can help remove the need of completing repetitive tasks that humans might otherwise do. This can reduce human error and increase the wellbeing of employees in the factory.

Challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

  • High economic costs
  • Business model adaptation
  • Unclear economic benefits/excessive investment
  • Privacy concerns
  • Surveillance and distrust
  • General reluctance to change by stakeholders
  • Threat of redundancy of the corporate IT department
  • Loss of many jobs to automatic processes and IT-controlled processes, especially for blue collar workers
  • Lack of regulation, standards and forms of certifications
  • Unclear legal issues and data security
Organizational/ Internal
  • IT security issues, which are greatly aggravated by the inherent need to open up those previously closed production shops
  • Reliability and stability needed for critical machine-to-machine communication (M2M), including very short and stable latency times
  • Need to maintain the integrity of production processes
  • Need to avoid any IT snags, as those would cause expensive production outages
  • Need to protect industrial know-how (contained also in the control files for the industrial automation gear)
  • Lack of adequate skill-sets to expedite the transition towards the fourth industrial revolution
  • Low top management commitment
  • Insufficient qualification of employees