Industry 4.0 ambition must become action to gain most value

Posted on 2 Jun 2017 by Jonny Williamson

While many manufacturers are investing in ‘smart’ manufacturing capabilities, few have achieved the scale and integration needed to drive enterprise value, a new report has revealed.

Industry 4.0 Smart Factory - Datawright Listing image
Success in industry 4.0 is not about how much you invest; the winners will not be those with the deepest pockets.

The majority of manufacturers have taken the first step towards advanced, connected technologies, but most are still experimenting with discrete pilots or trial projects. Few have progressed to apply these ‘Industry 4.0’ capabilities across all corners of their operations.

That’s the finding of the latest KPMG report, Beyond the hype: separating ambition from reality in Industry 4.0.

UK manufacturers reportedly have “more enthusiasm than preparedness”, with most showing only a low-to-medium level of maturity regarding the likes of demand-driven supply chain, machine-to-machine (M2M) communication, and digital twinning.

More positively, they showed somewhat better maturity in cloud, robotics, big data, cybersecurity and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies.

Head of industrial manufacturing at KPMG UK, Stephen Cooper commented: “In February, we released our Rethink Manufacturing report, which showed that the majority (56%) of UK manufacturers agree that industry 4.0 represents an unprecedented opportunity to revitalise manufacturing across the country.

However, they are far less sure about how it will affect their business and whether they have a coherent strategy and the right talent and skills to capitalise on it.”

According to KPMG, gaining experience with industry 4.0 technologies is important, but the real value of industry 4.0 comes, not from the component technologies or capabilities, but rather through smarter processes that integrate automation, data, analytics, manufacturing and products in a way that delivers “unique competitive advantages and unlocks new business and operating models”.

That’s something which can’t be accomplished without achieving larger scale, greater integration across functions and a willingness to disrupt the status quo, said Alec McCullie, associate director and UK lead for Industry 4.0 at KPMG

McCullie added: “There are a number of key focus areas that are creating challenges for manufacturing executives across the value chain. Particularly as they work to transform their organisations for the industry 4.0 environment. This includes issues such as developing a robust, goals-focused strategy, scaling up the programs, managing the impacts across functional areas, integrating with products and improving the value network.

“Success in industry 4.0 is not about how much you invest; the winners will not be those with the deepest pockets. To win in tomorrow’s competitive and rapidly changing environment, manufacturers need to start being bolder in their vision, strategies and actions if they are to succeed.”

The Manufacturer Smart Factory Expo

Nov 15-16, 2017 – Exhibition Centre Liverpool

The UK’s biggest showcase for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) – a revolution in manufacturng agility, innovation and thinking.

Highlighting the best solution providers and technology offerings, this unique FREE event is for manufacturing business leaders keen to adopt the relevant tools and knowledge to drive business growth.

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