Paradigm Shift: Industry 4.0

I was talking to a friend who works as a program manager at one of the big and established brands in automotive supply companies about the software systems that they use. I was all ears, hoping to hear about fancy automated processes, communication platforms, and scheduling and reminder systems that might be in use.  But to my distress, the actual process involved excel sheets and emails!

Sounds familiar? I am sure it is to many of you.

According to the Emerging Trends and Forces article (published in Technology in Industry report, 2018 by Automation Alley), the technical advancement trend for Industry 4.0 involves Internet of Things, Mobility, Cloud, AI, and Data Analytics. And  the paradigm shift in the work environment involves a decentralized, value driven, empowered, and autonomous approach.

Considering the demands of the paradigm shift in process, do you really feel prepared for Industry 4.0?

There are two major components: the technology, and the talent to handle it.

The technology solutions must address:

  1. Process Automation – Using technology to automate the processes and keep them human agnostic, minimizing the chances for human error.

  2. Data – Collecting all the data you can, and keeping it all together in easy to access, searchable format. This data can be monetized in numerous ways.

What will be the best solution?

Advanced and easily configurable software systems/tools that fit into “your way of doing business” and not the ones that demand a change in business processes.  Look for systems that bring all the organizational data into one platform (data warehouse/data lakes/etc,) and automate the access of data based on the workflow and authority, while also enabling and automating the review processes and oversight (reminders to assigned reviewers, etc.) These are few of the characteristics of the types of technology solutions that are carrying companies from the old standards into Industry 4.0. Of course cost-benefit, ease of implementation, accessibility, and operation are always and will always be an integral part of this list.  

Another key component of the preparedness for Industry 4.0 is talent. Many industries are already experiencing the global shortage of technical talent. With the introduction of robots and AI-enabled machines, the need for talent with new technical skills is increasing. The demand is not just for updated skills, but for updated mindsets – with opportunity-seeking attitudes and habitual continuous learning becoming highly sought-after characteristics.

How do you source such talent?  Tag-teaming with trustworthy and efficient HR/staffing firms, starting with defining talent requirements, finding and pipelining the right talent, conducting training programs (technical, soft skills,) leadership development programs, and developing new retention strategies.

Conclusion: High-end technology for automating your business processes will take the load of your human resources while collecting data, and preparing the organization for the benefits of data analytics. Nurturing the same human resources and planning ahead for new teams will get you ready for Industry 4.0, and will get you ready to get more value out of your business as well.

Thanks to Automation Alley and Pavan Mujumdar – COO of Automation Alley, for sharing the Technology in Industry 2018 Report and all my friends for talking to me!