by Kevin Madden

With the global economy in the preliminary stages of Industry 4.0, what a true Industry 4.0 company will look like is still being determined. However, it is almost certain that the firms poised to succeed in this new environment will be adaptable. Adaptability is an underlying theme of a recent report by Deloitte Insights titled “The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here – are you ready?”.[1] The report suggests that companies that make use of advanced technologies to create new business models are the ones that will be the most flexible and best able to tackle challenges in the new business environment.

The report emphasizes the need for companies to take a broad view of Industry 4.0. In other words, when it comes to adopting advanced technology, their focus should not solely be on utilizing it to reach short-term business objectives like driving down costs or improving product quality. Instead, organizations should build new business models from an Industry 4.0 perspective. In other words, the best way to leverage Industry 4.0 is in reshaping the way you think about your business in addition to using Industry 4.0 to make your old business model more efficient. Understanding the role disruptive technologies can play not only in the manufacturing process but in the entire value chain will allow businesses to compete and add value in ways they had not previously imagined.

Companies that are successful in adopting new, innovative business models are referred to in the report as the true Industry 4.0 organizations. Through the Internet of Things, smart technology and the use of sensors, these companies have access to a seemingly endless supply of real-time data from nearly all aspects of their business. This constant collection and analysis of data allows them to make decisions that put them at the forefront of their respective industries. More significantly, because their business models are built from an Industry 4.0 perspective, they are inherently more adaptable. With machine learning and data analysis, these companies can detect patterns and respond to challenges much faster. Companies can also use the data to run simulations in both the manufacturing process and the general business environment. This enables them to prepare for many different scenarios and increases their flexibility and adaptability. What you end up with is organizations that can prepare for and predict both internal and external challenges such as fluctuations in demand, environmental shifts, changes in governmental policies and competitive threats.

Ontario is fortunate to be home to a uniquely strong manufacturing industry with firms that are preparing to make full use of Industry 4.0. However, to stay on the cutting-edge of competition, organizations need to continue to think about how Industry 4.0 can reshape their business and spur innovation. Undertaking this challenge is not easy, but it will lead to Ontario having an abundance of successful, adaptable manufacturing companies that are continuing to compete at the global level. If Industry 4.0 has helped to reshape your business plan and made you more adaptable or if you know of an organization where this is the case, please let us know! You can tweet us at @TrilliumMfg or send us an email at info@trilliummfg.ca.

[1] Link to report: https://www.forbes.com/forbes-insights/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Deloitte-FourthIndustrialRev_REPORT_FINAL-WEB.pdf

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