In the world of manufacturing, there is plenty of skepticism surrounding Industry 4.0 technology. Will it live up to the hype? Is it too early to consider? Is the manufacturing industry really moving in this direction? As with any cryptic subject, there is also a list of misconceptions that arise due to skepticism. We feel that it’s time to address the objections to adopting advanced technology in manufacturing. Let’s talk about a couple of Industry 4.0 misconceptions.
Misconception 1: “I should wait to start investing in Industry 4.0.”
This very well might be the most common misconception that manufacturers have about Industry 4.0. When any innovative technology is in its early stages, only a few invest in the technology before it becomes popular. These are known as the early adopters.
As with any investment, it’s only worth time and effort if the ultimate ROI is significant. Industry 4.0 is no different. What makes Industry 4.0 especially compelling for manufacturers is the value that data accumulates brings to a factory in the long-term. Data is the only asset that is guaranteed to appreciate over time. Since big data and data analytics are the backbones of Industry 4.0 technology, it’s especially beneficial for manufacturers to start investing today.
Because it can take a long time to create a full-fledged smart factory. In competitive markets like manufacturing, it’s vital to have the foresight to adopt new technology that will keep you ahead of your competition. By integrating smart factory technology and simultaneously adjusting your operations from the insights gleaned from those solutions, early adopters of Industry 4.0 technology will gain a competitive advantage over those who play ‘wait and see’.
Misconception 2: “It’s not worth making the difficult transition into smart manufacturing.”
Contrary to popular belief, taking the first steps to building a smart factory don’t have to be a painful, headache-filled process. With services like Oden, which makes data collection and hardware tech integration easy for manufacturers pressured to digitize, it’s become easier than ever to make the move.
When most people hear “Industry 4.0” or “smart factory” they picture an extremely expensive, entirely automated factory filled with machine-learning robots working 24/7. In reality, a smart factory can be achieved by simply connecting your existing equipment to IoT devices that capture data and installing software that provides analytics that shorten your time to resolution and production improvement.
If you implement Industry 4.0 technology today, you’ll benefit from it in both the short term, by making immediate production improvements, as well as in the future, when you are ready to adopt more technology into your factory. Manufacturers who start data collection now will also benefit from having years of data to train machine learning models on to make better, more informed decisions.
Misconception 3: “Industry 4.0 isn’t happening anytime soon.”
This simply isn’t true. In fact, PwC recently did a thorough study on Industry 4.0, in a global perspective, and published their findings in a 30+ page analysis. The PwC study even shows that 83% of manufacturers, in various industries and countries, believe that data analysis will become important to their operations by 2021. In fact, even General Motors, one of the dominating manufacturers in the automotive industry, has made moves to integrate data gathering systems into their operations. If that’s not enough proof that Industry 4.0 is coming to fruition, Oden is living, breathing proof that the manufacturing industry is leading the pack of Industry 4.0’s exponential growth.
Misconception 4: “It is difficult to learn about Industry 4.0.”
This one definitely has some merit to it. There are few resources circulating in the world of manufacturing that provide clear and concise information about Industry 4.0, which is the exact reason why we produce that content.
We’re trying to increase Industry 4.0 literacy through our weekly content because we believe that manufacturers looking to digitize shouldn’t be left in the dust of technological innovation. We want to provide the resources that will help them learn why the journey to digital manufacturing is important, inevitable, and easy to start today.
The path to maintaining technology advancement within a factory doesn’t have to be difficult for plant managers. Services like Oden are aiming to erase misconceptions about Industry 4.0, especially the misconception that transitioning to a smart factory isn’t worth the investment.