Industry 4.0 and Digital Transformation

Industry 4.0 and Digital Transformation

Industry 4.0 is a huge deviation from the traditional manufacturing setup. It is the total integration of manufacturing systems, production processes, digital communications technologies and automated machines. It effectively uses expertise of IT systems, internet of things (IoT), adaptive manufacturing systems and other new age technologies.  As I understand, Industry 4.0 revolutionizes the manufacturing ecosystem, bringing greater agility through improved data analyses and digitized processes.

Samsung has taken the role of digital transformation with Industry 4.0 very seriously. For example, the surface inspection systems for digital TV production by Samsung reduces human operator intervention in the production line, increases throughput and reduces errors in the product inspection. System operation supports capturing TV surface image from high-resolution camera devices. This helps Samsung not only improve the quality of production but also reduces the human intervention in production.

 The Industry 4.0 team of Samsung has also developed a post-processing system for an image captured by the camera to make it amenable to automatic detection. The IIoT machines at Samsung uses automatic surface defect detection algorithm to distinguish a real defect from a false one on the digital TV. These were two of many such initiatives undertaken by Samsung to lead the benefits of digital transformation with Industry 4.0.

The integration of digital transformation with Industry 4.0 is not just a technical process, it is the sumtotal of internal integration which includes technology, cultural integration, resource optimization, financial inclusion, and services integration, and external integration which includes political, economic, social, legal, and many other external environmental issues.

Digital transformation with industry 4.0 has efficiently bridged the gap between physical and digital worlds. A few forward-thinking companies have done amazing things using the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and data analysis. They hook up with others with whom they can create new ecosystems of value. Here, it is important to talk of how Nokia and BSNL have collaborated for Industry 4.0 and have transformed traditional wired factory networks to wireless networks leading to improved equipment mobility for enhanced flexibility of manufacturing infrastructure.

BSNL was one of the early adoptions of IIoT applications in industry. This exercise has improved productivity and operational efficiency of the telecom operator, but it failed to cash in the momentum. As I understand, BSNL could not manage to transform the softer side of the transformation. It failed to integrate the key internal and external transformation elements. It could not improve on the services for the benefit of consumer.

Business success today requires a customer centric digital transformation strategy. It starts with prioritizing a superior and relevant customer experience and aligning the organization, processes, employees and technology to empower it.

In this ever-changing consumer centric economy, the needs of the customers keep on changing. It is responsibility of the management to script the digital transformation journey to match the pace of the change. All leading companies are re-imagining customer experience with a strong focus on digital.

The successful managers of our times are fully aware that digital is not just about being technology-led but also about recreating new experiences and service models for transforming their business. They understand that digital transformation helps organization shortened  time  to  market  to  develop; produce  and  market  new  products  and services; increased  customization  to  satisfy  individual  consumer  demands; manage higher product individualization; offer higher flexibility  with  faster  and  more  versatile  production  processes; offer expertise to produce smaller lot quantities with high quality and a cost-effective way. Managers at Rockwell Automation were one of the first few who understood the benefit of integration of digital transformation with Industry 4.0. The impact of Rockwell Automation’s digital transformation has been very encouraging. It has helped Rockwell Automation in increasing delivery from 82 to 90 per cent, reduced its lead times by fifty per cent, increased productivity by five per cent and reduced capex by thirty per cent.

The integration of digital transformation with Industry 4.0 in the manufacturing setup produces both short- and long-term benefits. It offers – transparency, manufacturing agility, improved productivity, improved efficiency, staffing flexibility, reduced costs, reduced training time and expense, improved quality, end-to-end manufacturing, as some of the key benefits. The effective integration of digital transformation with Industry 4.0 also helps organization in the decentralized decision-making process; pave the way for lean organization structure; help build base for the technology innovations; help develop innovation capability and culture; provide opportunities to increasing mechanization and automation, digitalization and networking, decentralized production and supply.

Organizations who have already embarked on the road to digital transformation are making impressive advances. They are shifting organizations’ goal, changing how people work and deploying technology to achieve value.

As I understand planning a customer journey blueprint, organizational cultural changes and the right operating model are often the most challenging elements to tackle in the journey of digital transformation. The path of digital transformation is not an easy journey. It demands organizations to define the digital landscape; establishing connection with customers; understand what customers’ feel about their brands; explore what customer expectations are; building momentum amongst management to lead the transformation journey; enable collaboration with partners; educate employee about the change; reengineer the organization culture; enable sense of digital accountability, among many other challenges.

The initial deployments of digital transformation with Industry 4.0 have offered us benefits in term of reduced costs and improved efficiencies. The next wave of digital transformation with Industry 4.0 calls for significant business value in terms of delivery efficiencies, new revenue streams, customer experiences, etc. However, in order to reap the benefits and potential, it’s not enough to understand what one can do with these technologies.