We are currently in the fourth primary phase of the industrial revolution, often referred to as Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 is comprised of the following:

Many of these are technologies being deployed in the oil and gas industry. The pace of innovation is accelerating. You can see the benefits immediately. You can have increased availability of products at a lower cost, which drives competitiveness and growth. Greater competitiveness and growth lead to jobs.

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Increased Awareness of Industry 4.0

According to the World Federation of Manufacturing (WFM), the global manufacturing sector, which employs more than 80 million people, grew at an annual rate of 5.1% in the decade ending in 2016. A WFM study predicts that the global manufacturing industry will add 2.2 million jobs in 2022. This expansion is a significant opportunity for small businesses to grow in this market. It is an emerging market, and many industries are developing their capabilities.

Making the Most of Industry 4.0

This fourth industrial revolution will affect all industries, from agriculture to education. It's a transition and not an evolutionary one. You have to be able to move with it. Every aspect of your company needs to be connected and have sensors. It's one of those things you can't ignore. You need to be aware of it and think about it from now on.

The following are some of the critical areas where companies will need to make significant investments over the next ten years to stay competitive.

  • Predictive and prescriptive maintenance using IoT and connected devices
  • Remote monitoring of physical assets using IoT
  • Improved efficiency using digital twin, simulation, and AI
  • Implementation of Industry 4.0 solutions for your processes

Establish an investment plan and make the proper adjustments where necessary to provide the right capability for your company. Industry 4.0 is a bit like the third industrial revolution; it's not a revolution but a transition and, in many ways, similar in its implementation.

Boosting Your Revenue by Increasing Brand Awareness and Loyalty

If you produce goods or provide services for an extended period, you have a much greater opportunity to develop your reputation. You're more likely to get repeat business. With this comes greater demands from clients, and you can earn a premium for your product or service.

By improving processes and enhancing your brand, you are more likely to capture more share of wallet from your customer. Better results mean more revenue, more employees, more customers, and higher profits. All of this starts with your company's digital transformation, and for most companies, this is a significant part of the journey. Most companies say it's a part of their overall business strategy.

It won't take long for Industry 4.0 to take hold of the economy. Many companies are still in the second or third industrial revolution, so they must be prepared for all of these innovations. 

These companies are not thinking about this right now, and many struggle to keep up with their competitors. When these disruptions happen, they often show up with a bit of warning. They are not just the technology but how they are implemented and monitored. What should a company do to prepare for these changes?

Preparing for Industry 4.0

  • Make Your Data an Asset

Data is essential for your company to do business in the digital economy; your employees need to use it. Analytics is not just for a data scientist; anyone with an analytic mindset needs to know what data is generated, how it is used, and by whom.

Analytics can generate insights, design marketing campaigns and business strategies, and improve efficiency and customer experience. There is no set answer to how much data you need, how much you should use, and how much you should pay for the information you have. It's about making your data an asset. You should secure it but be prepared to share it. There are a lot of organizations who would like to get hold of it – and you want to be the one to choose who does.

  • Be Open to Change

You have to be open to new ways of doing things. By investing in Industry 4.0, you are fundamentally changing how your company operates and looking at what the future holds for your industry. While there may be a lot of data and technologies coming your way, you also have to keep things simple and remove any barriers to improving your processes. The key is to break down barriers in your business and make things easier for everyone involved.

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  • Include Everyone in the Process

Industry 4.0 is not a niche skill; it's a transformation of how you do business. It's an essential tool in your digital arsenal, and by including your entire workforce, your customers, and even your suppliers, you will realize the true potential of Industry 4.0. It's not a task for your data scientists alone.

  • Include Everyone in the Process

Industry 4.0 is about data, analytics, artificial intelligence, and collaborative working, so when you say it's an "unforeseen future," this is what you are talking about. Many companies find they don't have the bandwidth or the right skillsets to participate.

The future orientation of Industry 4.0 is not new information. It's a new set of tools and processes, and while some of your employees might know all about them, others don't. Many businesses are being forced to invest in new skills and technology to keep up with the innovation and disruption in the industry. You should be prepared to invest in upskilling and reskilling your employees for the future.

  • Take Your Company Forward, Not Backward.

The digital transformation of your business doesn't have to be a one-off. If you take the time to establish a solid foundation and get everyone working together, everyone can benefit from this change. By taking your current processes and making them more efficient, you are making your customers happier and more satisfied and potentially bringing in more customers as you improve your overall customer experience. By making this a continuous transformation process, those benefits will grow.

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Setting up Your Company for Success

Even though Industry 4.0 might seem like something not directly applicable to your business, it doesn't mean you can't benefit from it. By investing in your company, you are making it more competitive, and you can lead in the future.

By leading in the digital economy, you create an environment for your customers to thrive. If you can meet your customers' needs, you can maintain your competitive advantage and reach new customers.

To be at the forefront of your industry, you have to be ahead of the curve. You have to be constantly looking for new ways to create customer experiences, and by doing that, you will ultimately create a more customer-centric company.

This year, your company has the opportunity to change the way you work and increase their efficiency and productivity. Whether you are concerned about data privacy, the cost of analytics, or the lack of skilled workers, you can take action to get the right set of skills for your business and apply the right technology for the job.

So, don't be afraid to invest in Industry 4.0; the time is now to change your business and reshape your future. Simplilearn's Corporate Training group can custom-tailor the skilling program you need to succeed in the emerging digital economy.

About the Author

Stuart CrequeStuart Creque

Stuart is a storyteller, with a foundation in technology, marketing, and management. He tells business stories in the form of content that means something to both external clients and internal team. He has written, produced and directed short films and written the feature film The Last Earth Girl.

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  • *According to Simplilearn survey conducted and subject to terms & conditions with Ernst & Young LLP (EY) as Process Advisors