Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution, refers to the era of connectivity between machines and humans. It refers specifically to automation and manufacturing and comprises IoT, cloud computing, machine learning and artificial intelligence, all of which help create real-time access to actionable data.
What industry 4.0 is essentially doing, is creating new opportunities and environments in which to promote greater efficiency. But today’s manufacturing landscape is competitive, and maintaining a profitable, sustainable business requires organisations to achieve efficiencies across each stage of the value stream. Creating and sustaining efficiencies can be challenging, affected by a growing competitive marketplace, shifts in consumer demand, the introduction of new technologies, rising raw material costs as well as process change management obstacles.
Innovation is an important driver in the application of cutting-edge technology. And the possibilities inherent in linking the capabilities of digitisation to the physical aspects of the manufacturing industry by capitalising on the growing abilities of IoT and other technologies are endless. But what do we mean by innovation? Let’s take a closer look.
A sustaining innovation is an incremental innovation that enables or sustains an existing product. This is different to a disruptive innovation, which is one that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network and as a result, displaces an earlier technology. Sustaining innovations are visible every day, from faster processes, sharper screens, longer battery life, stronger glue and lighter bikes – the list is endless.
Disruptive innovations are less frequent, but we are seeing more industries being disrupted more often. Great examples of disruptive innovation include digital photography, electric cars, the internet and even 3D printing. Sustaining innovations can be stacked to create disruptive innovations. But looking at manufacturing, what are the sustaining innovations that are available right now or starting to become apparent?
In the manufacturing sector, we are seeing a rise in the use of IoT, AR, VR, BI & MI tools, machine learning, robotics, co-bots and automation to name a few. All of these have been applied to improving results. A significant portion of new sales growth for industrial equipment manufacturers will come from connected equipment with sensors, actuators and analytical insights that can exchange critical data with other machines and computer networks.
Data shows that across all industries, companies that earmark money for R&D spending on software earlier than their competitors enjoy greater revenue gains*
So what can you do? What options do you have that can ensure we get that right balance of investment into the digital elements of manufacturing and how do we capitalise on the goldilocks time frame to act?
At Razor, we have created The Razor Sprint, designed specifically for people who believe that technology can enhance their business. If you want to make a change and take action – we can help. Contact us to find out more about how we can help you make a change.
*PwC Industrial Manufacturing Trends 2018-19