Industry 4.0 Complexity and Uncertainty – Why Some Manufacturers Thrive Despite Them

How to navigate through uncertainty

Why do some manufacturing companies gain more value from Industry 4.0 than others?

Because they regard the adoption of Industry 4.0 as an overall strategic business objective, rather than a big-budget technology, or IT project.

An Objective That’s Much Bigger Than Technology Investment

Treating Industry 4.0 adoption as a company-wide business objective puts central leadership in the appropriate mindset to strike the right balance between control and empowerment. On one hand, the company’s headquarters maintain an open feedback loop, ensuring the local pilot factory is moving in the right direction, through a low-touch, non-invasive approach. On the other hand, the empowered local factory is free to innovate, make its own proposals, and lead the actual implementation effort.

SmarterChains recommends establishing an Industry 4.0 Center of Excellence, to manage transformation structure and efforts

Some degree of control and visibility is necessary to evaluate results, control costs, and decide which investments to standardize over the entire organization. Likewise, safeguarding each local entity’s ability to maneuver inside the transformation boosts its commitment to implementation. Similarly, centralized funding helps standardization, whereas a decentralized budget encourages new local initiatives. A hybrid approach is usually the most effective.

Special Attention Must be Given to Aspects Beyond Operations

The truth is, Industry 4.0 unlocks opportunities that go way beyond operations improvement. The potential is real and may be just the first step towards entirely different business models. For instance, consider how IoT technology allows manufacturers to create value from customers over-time and completely transforms how the customer interacts with the company.

In short, Industry 4.0 opens up the way to uncharted territory.

To keep up with change, leadership and management must become bolder – locally and centrally. Change is all about people. Generally speaking, people either embrace change or resist it. And even though there’s great value in listening to the naysayers, to succeed, you need to identify and bring in the willing stakeholders. These are the people that will remove roadblocks and champion the digitization effort if engaged early.

At SmarterChains, we help manufacturing plants build their digital capability plans towards Industry 4.0. With our intelligent 2-hour assessment, you can get an unbiased view of your strengths, weaknesses, gaps, and opportunities to improve.  Then we’ll deliver your unique Industry 4.0 roadmap, guiding you through the complexities & uncertainties of implementation. No plant walks, no resource drain.

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