Today we conclude our series on the topic of Industry 4.0. If you haven’t read the previous posts in the series, you can first catch up on the general introduction of Industry 4.0, the factors influencing the emergence of Industry 4.0, what customers will expect from Industry 4.0 solutions, how 3D-printing is changing manufacturing, and the first and second post regarding challenges facing Industry 4.0, and learn about algorithmica technologies' Industry 4.0 solutions.
In the near future all business will not only be able, but have to, to utilize the Internet of Things to improve productivity, exploit new business models, find options for innovation, and many more. And it is paramount to the survival in this new climate that managers and businesses, both industrial and solution providers, adapt to the changing landscape. In a recent report on dealing with the digitization of manufacturing, McKinsey Digital wrote that they expect the change will be gradual. The report stated that industrial manufacturers have a conservative approach to risky new technologies, and approach them with caution. Additionally, providers of process automation hardware and software typically offer terms of support of about 10 years, in order to reflect the longer life-cycle of manufacturing equipment. Such factors make industrial manufacturers likely to carefully weigh the risks versus benefits of introducing the new technologies required, and to do so in slow, incremental steps.
In examining Industry 4.0 in this series, we certainly agree that the industry can be plodding and slow to adapt, lagging much behind the consumer market in adoption of new technologies. And it is our experience that indeed many industrial manufacturers are wary in the face of new, untried approaches, and suspicious of their ability to deliver. But the Fourth Industrial Revolution is here. It is redefining what is possible to achieve, and reshaping industrial consumers' expectations from the products they use. It is opening the door to a more optimized, more connected production, and a stronger integration between different actors in the value chain. It is bringing manufacturing closer to the end consumer, and turning it away from its traditional focus on production, and towards a new service-oriented model. Everywhere along the value chain, Industry 4.0 is threatening to destroy old business models, and promising the creation of new ones.
In short, manufacturing is changing. That is a foregone conclusion. It is such moments of clear, imminent upheaval that offer businesses the ability to move ahead of its competitors – or to fall behind. There is really no staying with the old model of manufacturing. The only choice is whether to be one of the leaders, defining and benefitting from the new abilities of networked manufacturing, and leading the Industry 4.0 revolution; or whether to be one of the laggards, and risk losing out to those more willing to adapt.