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How to Deliver Business Value from Manufacturing 4.0’s Next Digital Revolution Phase

2 minutes, 35 seconds read

For many manufacturing companies, Industry 4.0 is very much taking place now. It’s all about applying technology to make processes and systems smarter and more efficient. Data-based insight is driving this digital revolution and tremendous new levels of business value. But is it too soon to look at what’s next?

We say it’s never too soon to look forward. However, “what’s next” depends largely on where your company sits in the digital revolution. We see a few ways to drive business value from each step on your journey.

Entering Manufacturing 4.0: Gathering More Data

If you’re just starting to deploy technology solutions to maximize your efficiency, then the great news here is that you have a lot of value to reap. Whether you’re moving from paper to the cloud, automating processes to improve quality control or gathering data to optimize production timing, this step is all about making use of the massive amounts of information available. The end results are about achieving faster processes, less waste, cleaner end-products and happier customers.

Research indicates that many companies in this early stage use technology as a piecemeal solution to solve a specific problem. Business consultant McKinsey advises using a “digital compass” to help navigate this stage. The compass consists of eight value drivers and 26 Industry 4.0 solutions to solve specific problems.

Maturing Manufacturing 4.0: Strategizing Future Directions

The next step is look beyond problems to end results. That is, instead of focusing on how technology can cut the time of one specific process, this is about how to harness the power of the digital revolution across your entire organization. This can inform a much broader deployment of technology solutions that, in turn, build up to new strategies for innovation.

During this next phase of Manufacturing 4.0, companies are moving beyond enhanced productivity towards what the publication i-SCOOP calls “higher agility, real-time opportunities, the development of an innovative capability and true innovation, identifying new information-driven and service-oriented sources of revenue and many more goals.” In other words, companies are beginning to look at the data in a bigger-picture way to deploy new levels of value—whether that’s new products, new ways of interacting with customers, or new business lines.

Entering Industry 5.0

Industry 5.0 begins to recognize that technology can only take a company so far. The next step is to to harness the power of people to drive the digital revolution to new levels.

Industry 5.0 is about bringing human intelligence together with computing power to create more personalized customer experiences and products. This is where methodologies like Lean and Kaizen stand to add incredible new levels of value. In Manufacturing 5.0, workers are encouraged to become problem solvers who work collaboratively with machines to drive the best outcome. By applying human insight to waste reduction and continuous improvement to the data generated through digital solutions, organizations can focus on creating an overall improved customer and worker experience—and this creates more meaningful jobs for workers.

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