Over the last few years in particular, you’ve likely at least heard of the concept of Industry 4.0. Also referred to by some as the Fourth Industrial Revolution, this is a term that describes the integration of technology at virtually every level of the manufacturing process including individual production lines, departments and even locations.
Much of this will be made possible thanks to the Internet of Things (IoT) – a network of literally billions of sensors and other devices that are all connected to one another, creating and sharing information at all times. One recent study indicated that spending on Industry 4.0 technology is expected to reach an enormous $165.5 billion by as soon as 2026 and all it takes is one look at benefits like easier preventative maintenance and productivity gains to see why.
Still, bringing your own facilities up to Industry 4.0 standards and expectations isn’t as simple as flipping a light switch. If you truly want to make sure that your investment is going towards technologies and assets that will help propel your organization forward, there are a few key things to keep in mind.
Industry 4.0 Investment Considerations: Breaking Things Down
By far, the most important step to take when properly planning for your investment in Industry 4.0 involves defining what that term means in your specific context.
Even the Internet of Things is nothing if not malleable – there are a lot of different assets that fall under the umbrella of this term and not every one of them is going to be relevant to your situation. An investment in Industry 4.0 needs to be purposeful – it’s not about bringing the “latest and greatest” that modern technology has to offer into the fold because you can. It’s about doing so because you should.
Therefore, you’ll want to conduct an audit of your current situation as it comes to technology. Then, think about where you see your organization in five years in terms of growth and scalability. What do you need to be able to do then that you cannot do right now? What Industry 4.0 technologies can get you from where you are to where you want to be? Those are the investments that you should be making – the strategic, purpose-driven ones.
You’ll also want to begin to prepare yourself for the changes – some of which will be significant – that will happen to your manufacturing enterprise upon the arrival of Industry 4.0. That is, if they haven’t happened already.
With the advent of cloud computing and the Industrial Internet of Things will come a decentralization of information, for example. Everyone can access any piece of critical data from anywhere at any time. For many, this will be a major change in the way things are normally done. But when you consider the opportunities for real-time collaboration and increased flexibility that it brings with it, it’s clear that this is a change worth making.
If you’d like to learn more information about how to adequately prepare your organization for its inevitable upcoming investment in Industry 4.0, or if you’d just like to talk to someone about your own situation in a bit more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact Pioneer Industrial Systems today.