It’s no secret that Industry 4.0, or the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) has the power to drive true quantifiable change in the manufacturing industry. The immediate bottom-line production benefits are clear: fewer machine failures, reduced scrap and downtime issues, and improved throughput – to name a few. However, there are additional, less quantifiable, benefits of implementing this technology.
One trend that I’ve started seeing among manufacturers is the use of Industry 4.0 to create a positive, cultural shift across an organization. Think about how lean manufacturing and Six Sigma revolutionized the plant floor by turning production workers into problem solvers striving for continuous improvement. Similarly, Industry 4.0 is transforming how factory employees work, collaborate, and serve their customers.
The best-in-class Industry 4.0 solutions aggregate data not only from machines but from existing third-party systems – MES, ERP, maintenance, SCADA. The Industry 4.0 platform becomes a single source of truth for all manufacturing operations. Decision makers across the entire organization gain access to the same unified data set, rather than relying on disparate systems or manual data-collection.
Effectively, Industry 4.0 eliminates the silos that create frustration and disagreements between employees about the source of production issues. The availability of open, connected data means that plant managers, engineers, and management can now work together to objectively solve production problems. It also results in improved customer satisfaction, increased supply chain transparency, and enhanced employee engagement.