Get ready for smarter Industry 4.0 adoption

Posted on 11 Jul 2022 by The Manufacturer

In this article, Alastair Crawford, CEO of digital transformation specialists, LMAC Consulting, shares how UK manufacturers can now measure their status and readiness for prioritising the Industry 4.0 dimensions that will have the greatest impact on the business, aligned to its strategic priorities.

The Smart Industry Readiness Index (SIRI) is a pioneering, independent digital maturity assessment for manufacturing companies, endorsed by the World Economic Forum, which has quickly become the internationally-recognised standard for Industry 4.0 benchmarking. Over 1,500 manufacturers spanning 30 different countries have completed the official SIRI Assessment and are benefiting from the objective and data focused improvements it has driven.

Developed in Singapore, via a network of leading technology companies, consultancy firms and experts from industry and academia, SIRI comprises a suite of leading edge frameworks and tools that will empower your business – regardless of size and industry – to start, scale and sustain the digital transformation of your manufacturing processes.

Crucially, it targets and identifies the focus areas for your business that will have the greatest impact on your priority KPIs and costs.

As one of the very first certified SIRI practitioners in the UK, we can also benchmark against other local and global manufacturing companies within any sector, and also against the wider manufacturing community. If others in your industry are more mature in a particular dimension, the technology is already commonplace and there is less risk /investment required when developing your own roadmap for technology integration and digitisation.

Optimise performance and efficiencies

This is powerful as it allows you to see where you can make some quick gains. For example, shop floor intelligence involves collecting untapped yet highly accurate real time data – like progress tracking of jobs, quality of products, productivity of machines and everything in between – so that it can be processed and analysed to optimise performance and efficiencies.

The majority of companies we have taken through SIRI end up with this as one of their main priorities. In today’s dynamic, fast changing environment, the ability for people or systems to have the right information at the right time is critical to success.

People resonate with this dimension and are frustrated by the lack of timely data preventing them from doing their job. They can see how it will impact their role, which is exactly the kind of insight we need people to get to grips with if they are to embark on the journey to Industry 4.0 maturity.

Image Credit: International Centre for Industrial Transformation, INCIT

Transformation strategies

As the most holistic programme available, SIRI can benefit manufacturing stakeholders in three primary ways: by helping manufacturers with their transformation strategies; bolstering the efforts of technology and advisory firms to catalyse digital transformation among manufacturers, and supporting governments and industry associations in their sectoral planning.

The SIRI framework comprises three layers:

  1. The topmost layer identifies three fundamental building blocks of Industry 4.0: Process, Technology and Organisation. A company’s transformation plans must touch on all three to harness the full potential of digital transformation.
  2. The second layer breaks these three building blocks down into eight pillars, which represent critical aspects that companies must focus on to become future ready organisations.
  3. The third layer comprises 16 dimensions that should be referenced when evaluating the current maturity levels of manufacturing facilities.

This approach will enable companies to start, scale and sustain their Industry 4.0 transformation journeys in the right and proper direction.

Prioritisation is a critical exercise in formulating effective Industry 4.0 roadmaps and the TIER framework comprises of four key inputs / steps, so manufacturers can better focus their energies and resources on activities that bring the greatest benefits and value. This drives both informed decision-making and effective resource allocation.

Systematic fashion

It provides an easy-to-understand conceptual framework that helps companies approach prioritisation it in a systematic fashion that is both robust and comprehensive.

Learning the key concepts is an essential first step in any transformation journey, but companies must properly evaluate the current state of their manufacturing facilities, before they can identify areas of improvement. The Assessment Matrix establishes their standing across 16 key dimensions and the Prioritisation Matrix is used to identify high-impact dimensions for further action.

Furthermore, to help companies translate these four key principles into practice, the Prioritisation Matrix assists in quantitatively identifying and comparing the Impact Values across the various SIRI Dimensions. Together with the TIER Framework it helps ensure that companies move in the right direction (for them) as they forge ahead with their Industry 4.0 transformation roadmaps.

Because of this, official SIRI assessment is delivered by Independently certified SIRI assessors to ensure accuracy and integrity of the results.


Image Credit: International Centre for Industrial Transformation, INCIT

Increased focus

Experience has taught us that a company can’t improve what it can’t measure. SIRI precisely diagnoses areas where increased focus will create the most significant operational progress, allowing companies to confidently take on their Industry 4.0 journey.

SIRI principles are universally applicable, and are as relevant to multinational companies as they are SMEs. The quality of outcome is assured, regardless of scale. The assessment process quickly identifies a company’s priority KPI’s and biggest cost drivers, whilst simultaneously creating a roadmap for improvements, on the journey to excellence.

In short, SIRI will give you a clear plan showing you where to focus to succeed and the expected benefits. It prevents wasting resources on technology solutions that are not going to deliver against your critical success factors – and quick, scalable solutions and improvement ideas will be identified that deliver benefits towards your primary cost factors and priority KPI’s. Ultimately, your Leadership team will have a fully aligned and clear vision for the future of your manufacturing operation.

About the author

LMAC MD Alastair CrawfordAlastair Crawford was the first certified SIRI assessor for the UK – based on five years of market leading expertise in Australasia, as the New Zealand Government especially strengthened its economy via efficiency, quality and process improvements based on the latest Industry 4.0 principles. Having originally honed his skills and expertise in the world-class lean methodology environment of Toyota, he is passionate about supporting our manufacturing sector’s take up and adoption of leading edge digital transformation and sustainability practices to improve productivity.