What is Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 is also known as the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). The term is used to describe a massive digital upgrade for the manufacturing and logistics sector.
It is being seen as a new era where technology takes centre stage, transforming how we make and move things. From those who have been working in the industry, this revolution began around the mid-2010s and has been reshaping global business operations ever since. And whilst it has many benefits, it has also emphasised the importance for businesses to enhance and advance their cyber security processes and protocols to protect themselves.
Key Pillars of Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 is powered by several groundbreaking technologies that are advancing all areas of the industry, from digital enhancements in logistics to warehouse operations and machinery.
Connectivity and Data Powerhouse
To put it simply, imagine having the whole factory or warehouse interconnected, like a giant WiFi zone. This is made possible by cloud technology, the Internet, and intelligent sensors, allowing seamless communication and data sharing.
Neuways partners with WatchGuard to supply the most advanced and secure WiFi solutions we can offer businesses. So, for a warehouse that humans often operate, but with new WiFi solutions, machines and technology can talk to each other to streamline the processes.
Intelligent Decision Making
Whether we like it or not, machines and computers are getting smarter; now, they can learn and make decisions like humans. Advanced analytics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence are the brains behind this evolution. That is why ensuring you are a cyber safe company with all the right cyber security processes implemented is essential.
Augmented Reality and Robotics
Virtual reality, augmented reality, and robots are becoming crucial in the workplace. Although they enhance productivity, make tasks more engaging, and streamline operations, security risks exist. However, the risks only occur if your business does not have the proper cyber security protocols and frameworks in place. While programs like Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central are essential to making your business more efficient, they should only be implemented alongside advanced cyber security processes.
Innovative Manufacturing Techniques
3-D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is another factor and solution changing the way logistics and manufacturing companies operate. It’s like having a magic machine that can create physical objects from scratch, opening up new possibilities for designing and producing goods. Whilst this sounds like a bonus (and it is), it does open businesses up to cyber threats. Companies must understand the risks and speak to IT Security Consultants to protect their assets.
Upskilling and Reskilling
While technology is a crucial aspect of Industry 4.0, equipping the workforce with the right skills and knowledge is equally important. These are vital in advancing companies and streamlining their processes.
Upskilling helps employees learn new skills to stay ahead in their jobs as technology advances. Rather than be replaced by technology, if used correctly, the technology on offer can help individuals enhance their skills and provide more value rather than be redundant.
The technological age also allows employees to advance their skills from what they already have and learn new aspects, which help make a business more efficient. Reskilling is like upgrading employees and training them with new skills that enable them to take on different roles within the company.
Lighthouses of Industry 4.0
Around the world, there are beacons of success—organisations and manufacturing sites that have fully embraced Industry 4.0 technologies. These success stories are called “lighthouses.” Lighthouses are manufacturing sites that have successfully implemented 4IR technologies at scale, showing significant operational improvements. These Lighthouses serve as benchmarks for other manufacturing sites, offering a blueprint for how Industry 4.0 can be embraced and applied effectively.
Economic and Environmental Benefits of Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 isn’t just about being tech-savvy; it’s about positively impacting the economy and the environment.
According to studies, companies that fully embrace Industry 4.0 can expect a significant positive change in cash flow. It is seeing organisations make great strides in economic growth and success.
An additional benefit is that the digital revolution is also eco-friendly. Industry 4.0 technologies promote eco-efficiency, reducing waste and consumption while improving cost, agility, and quality performance indicators.
Who Benefits the Most from Industry 4.0?
Every industry is on the journey of transformation, but some are seeing a more significant impact due to Industry 4.0. Manufacturing, transportation, and retail are leading the change because these sectors can benefit greatly from automation and digitisation.
While every sector will transform, education is expected to see the slightest change as only a quarter of the work in this sector can be automated.
Ultimately, Industry 4.0 is a term that describes the manufacturing and logistics industry, catching up with other industries and becoming more digital in its processes. It’s a business-defining upgrade for the manufacturing and logistics sector, leading us into an exciting and sustainable future.