Industry 4.0 is now seen as a synonym for the digital transformation of industries. It goes back to 2010 when Germany became the birthplace of a new vision aimed at promoting the competitiveness of national industries. Eventually, the term was adopted worldwide.
Industry 4.0 refers to the concept and trend for digitalization and big data exchange in the industrial sphere. It relies on technologies communicating within a single ecosystem and thus improving production KPIs.
Here are a few important features of Industry 4.0:
- automation and human factor reduction;
- merging the physical and virtual worlds through cyberphysical systems;
- decentralization and remote control;
- expanding equipment lifetime and inventory optimization;
- personalization and customization of the final product.
Worth noting, Industry 4.0 technologies do not come into conflict with old equipment and can even improve the performance of machines designed over 70 years ago.
What is the exact impact of Industry 4.0 on business efficiency?
In 2020, Deloitte conducted a survey and released a report entitled “The Fourth Industrial Revolution: At The Intersection Of Readiness And Responsibility”.
The report looked into the companies’ readiness for implementing innovation. Also, it explored the connection of Industry 4.0 technologies with business strategies, the social impact of the new tech and growth opportunities for companies.
Based on the report, there is a number of metrics revealing the business KPIs potentially influenced by Industry 4.0 solutions, such as:
- protecting companies from lagging behind the competition and maintaining a high level of competitiveness, plus one more tier – creating sustainable business models;
- the design and development of new products/services;
- seeking growth opportunities for existing products and services;
- ensuring profitability along with a positive social impact.
Let’s have a quick look at each of these points and link them to specific IT solutions:
- Protecting companies from lagging behind.
In particular, adopting Predictive Maintenance results in fewer equipment failures and less downtime. Artificial Intelligence can take care of planning and ensure that more orders will meet delivery deadlines.
- A speed boost in the design and development of new products/services.
Industry 4.0 provides ample opportunity for product customization. One can analyze possible outcomes and risks with AI-based big data processing, while VR helps with object visualization.
- Seeking growth opportinities for existing products and services. This process is facilitated by IIoT systems and AI.
- Reducing resource costs and optimizing rework.
Industry 4.0 helps to plan the manufacturing load and find defects at early stages (Machine Vision), so there is no need for a complete rework of the product – it will be enough to replace the defective assembly.
In addition, 62% of Deloitte CxO respondents shared that their priority was investing in Industry 4.0 to achieve profit growth combined with a positive social impact. Such solutions can reduce CO2 emissions and decarbonize manufacturing, which is vital for companies oriented to the European market.
The application range of Industry 4.0 technologies is much broader and has a positive influence on business profitability, efficiency and competitiveness. More and more companies are becoming aware of their value and joining the innovators’ club. By 2026, investment in the sector is expected to reach a notch of over $165 bln.