A New Paradigm: Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 refers to a new era of the Industrial revolution focusing strongly on interconnectivity, automation, machine learning, Artificial Intelligence and real-time data. The magnificent changes that can be seen in the manufacturing sector are worth noting because of the impact it had created in its internal operations affecting stakeholders, investors and other concerned.
The richness of information from the digital transformation has made customers demand better quality and higher speed in delivery at lower costs. Thus, this has made the business owners look for different ways of satisfying their customers for their sustainability in the business world. These changes have become a matter of discussion in recent times as the world is being introduced towards the new paradigm of Industry 4.0 technology in business.
The beginning of the Industry revolution is the foundation for Industry 4.0 technology in business. This is the term in use for change in Industry practices. First understanding of the Industrial Revolution is beneficial that had taken place in the past.
Industry Revolution in technology and business
A revolution is a sudden change in the present context to a whole another level. It is different from Evolution. Evolution comes from gradual change whereas revolution is a change into another level.
The industrial revolution, therefore, is termed because of the transformation from physical labor to the use of machines in the business operations. The use of machines in manufacturing was a huge change in increasing productivity and lowering the risks of the life of workers.
Going back to the history of Industry revolution, it provides information about the sequence of changes that had taken place so before getting into Industry 4.0 technology for business, information of past 200 years will be important. It will provide an insight into whether Industry 4.0 is a revolution or evolution.
The First Industrial Revolution
The first industrial revolution was introduced at the end of the 18th Century where the production was completed after the introduction of machines. The use of steam engines, electricity, and coal as energy sources along with the use of iron and steel were the changes made during the 18th century. The textile industry was the one that was mostly benefited from it.
The Second Industrial Revolution
Between the period 1870 and 1914, the second industrial revolution had taken place. The mass production was introduced for the production. This era brought telegraphs and railroads in the system. Because of World War I, the developments were only continued, and no such revolutions took place.
The Third Industrial Revolution: Digital Revolution
The era of revolution in making the world digitalized started in early 1980. Since then we are in this era of transformation. The digital revolution brought changes from analog, mechanical and electrical technology to what we see today as a digital world. Also known as the Third Industrial Revolution, it is consider as Era of Information.
From the first use of computers and the Internet to its gradual development, every business found it a necessity in their daily operations. The number of users using the Internet increased increasing the number of cell phones along. These developments have helped the business run smoothly and prolifically.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution: Industry 4.0
The new revolution in the manufacturing sector: Industry 4.0 or the fourth revolution is the new trend. Here the question might arise regarding what revolutionary changes it will create. So, here is a look through to the Industry 4.0.
Industry 4.0 technology for Business
A term first used in 2011by the representatives from business, politics, and academia for the manufacturing industry in Germany. Also known as IIoT or smart manufacturing, it is the holistic approach that connects digital technology with the process, suppliers, partners, and people and enables businesses in mass production producing customized products at lower costs.
The main idea of Industry 4.0 is to draw a thin line between virtual and the real world where machines will communicate with machines and with people as well, analyze large data and make decisions accordingly. Investing in it means to reinvent the entire business process and systems to whole new another level that helps to keep up with the changes in the environment that ultimately improves productivity and drives growth.
Through the interconnectivity of Internet of Things (IoT), access to large and real-time data. And the use of cyber-physical systems, robotics, artificial intelligence Industry 4.0 will make better decisions.
The revolution occurs when current practices no longer provide the benefits or satisfaction or when there is a need to grow further, revolution may take place. Similar is the case of Industry 4.0. Customers is considered as the key to success by businesses. Keeping them in mind, businesses can react to their changing demand.
By providing customized products, faster supply in the market, quality products. Industry 4.0 hence, uses IoT, a large volume of data in order to know customer preferences. And produce accordingly at lower costs without the intervention from the human.
A study by the European Patent Office in 2017 showed that there is a 54% growth in filing patents relating to Industry 4.0 for the last three years.
There are some terms that is in use while understanding Industry 4.0.
– Cyber-physical systems: Real-time collection of data and its analysis from the intersection of the physical world and Internet.
– Internet of Things: Connections between physical objects (sensors, machines) and Internet.
– Industrial Internet of Things: Connectivity between people, machines, and data in an industry.
– Smart Factory: Investment in Industry 4.0 technology and its approaches.
– Machine Learning: Ability of machines to learn and improve without program.
– Cloud computing: Interconnection of servers to store, manage, retrieve the required data and information.
– Real-time data: Provide real-time outputs by automatically processing the data.
Benefits of industry 4.0 technology in business
Some of the benefits obtained by the digital transformation can be:
– Customization: The customers will get a customized product as it focuses on customers. Due to less time taken in communicating internally as well as externally, the product delivery will be quick.
– New learning: Since new changes need some time to adopt. It becomes new learning to many people in the field of research. The need for training in enhancing skills along with sound IT knowledge will be mandatory. Which will bring new knowledge and skills in the business.
– Competitive: With the changes in the market through technology, one can keep up with it by investing in new knowledge and solutions. This will enable the business to stay competitive against its competitors.
– Increase efficiency: The technology helps in the analysis of the real-time data in making decisions that ultimately raises the efficiency.
– Lower costs, higher profits: The access to real-time data helps the business to make faster, better decisions resulting in profit and lowering the costs.
Challenges of industry 4.0 technology in business
Being a new change in the market, it definitely has some challenges that need to be understood before investing in it. According to Christain Brunkhorst, German affiliate, IG Metall, “There could be many new high skilled jobs in the areas of planning, configuration, and maintenance of new technologies. But low skilled workers could lose out”.
Clarity of Strategy: Most industries invest to stay competitive without having proper strategies for future consequences. Adapting to new technology needs a proper roadmap and discussions with all levels in order to run it smoothly.
Human Resource: Applying a completely different technology not only requires capital but also requires capable human resource who can be able to use it or who can learn easily. Skill development, training, or recruitment should be considered before investing in it.
Employment Opportunity: The employees in the higher authority can enjoy the new responsibilities; however, the lower position might find their job at risk from such changes resulting in unemployment.
Industry 4.0 does have a lot to offer to the market. There are many benefits and challenges to it. From all this information it concludes by raising a question about Industry 4.0. Is it a revolution or evolution in shifting the paradigm.
Being in the process of development, investment in such technology will need collaboration between HR, IT along with other departments holistically for optimal utilization of such transformation. The role of a top-level will be highly important for the preparation of strategies and cooperating with the changes. The technical training must provide for advancement in skills of employees. Hence, Industry 4.0 is a new paradigm to the industrial sector that need attraction by businesses in maintaining its position in the market.