Industry 4.0 offers incredible potential for improving operations and driving business growth in the manufacturing industry. As a new phase in the Industrial Revolution, Industry 4.0 focuses on automation, interconnectivity and real-time data.
According to a KPMG UK report, 56% of UK manufacturers see Industry 4.0 as an ‘unprecedented opportunity’ to revolutionise the manufacturing sector, although they’re not as confident about ‘whether they have a coherent strategy and the right talent and skills to capitalise on it.’
As spring manufacturers, we believe adopting this strategy can be beneficial to your business, which is why we’re taking a look at ways Industry 4.0 can be adopted in UK manufacturing.
What Are Your Business’ Outcomes?
Knowing what you want to achieve when it comes to the adoption of Industry 4.0 means being aware of the outcomes and measurements that truly matter to your business. This way, you can prioritise what’s really important to you instead of ending up with an overwhelming amount of information that you won’t be able to handle. Analyse your business for weaknesses, which will help you to figure out where to invest when it comes to digital adoption.
This also means that, while it can be easy to be drawn into the digital transformation excitement and immediately introduce innovative technologies into your processes, it’s important to understand where you should spend money. By taking this data-driven approach, you avoid investing in something you’re not 100% sure of, meaning you won’t waste resources that could be spent in other parts of your business.
Evaluate Your Challenges
A key element to Industry 4.0 is assessing the constraints your business will face, especially as this is a process that will require time. Without evaluating obstacles in the way, it can be difficult to implement this digitalisation. For example, research examples of Industry 4.0 technologies that are already being used in your sector, check what your customers have already implemented, figure out whether the adoption of some technologies will have to be phased, and more.
Have the Right Budget
Another thing to keep in mind when considering the adoption of Industry 4.0 is to be realistic with your budget. After all, the level of investment can differ greatly from business to business so, if you don’t have the necessary funds to allocate at the moment, just plan and prepare your Industry 4.0 adoption in stages. Start by prioritising your company’s needs.
Train Your Workforce
With the adoption of Industry 4.0, new and innovative technologies can quickly start to add up. In order to remain competitive, businesses need to invest in this digitalisation; however, it’s also crucial that manufacturers ensure the training and development of their staff, so that the use of these technologies can offer the desired results. For instance, upskill employees and make sure they’re aware of not only opportunities but also threats.
Conduct Regular Reviews
It’s not enough to just implement Industry 4.0 technologies in your business; you should also review them frequently in order to be aware of the current stage reached and whether there have been any opportunities spotted, for example. In addition, you will want to hold meetings that will allow you to figure out how best to face the challenges Industry 4.0 throws at your business, as well as whether the data collected is being analysed adequately and if new leads have emerged.
Dispel Harmful Myths About Industry 4.0
A big obstacle facing the adoption of Industry 4.0 is the misconceptions surrounding it, as they can be harmful to manufacturing businesses. Being aware of these myths is the first step towards dispelling them. A major misconception is that automation will replace humans; however, the goal is for humans to work alongside machines, as they never tire and can perform dangerous or repetitive tasks.
Another misconception is that, in order to fully adopt Industry 4.0, a manufacturing business has to invest in the latest cutting-edge equipment. On the contrary, there is no need for a total system overall or to invest in expensive, advanced technologies ‘just because’. 3D printing or connected machinery can be just what you need in your business.
Despite the clear importance of investing in Industry 4.0, many manufacturers don’t see its adoption as an opportunity that should be embraced on a company-wide level. At Airedale Springs, we believe that digitalisation and Industry 4.0 are changing the industry and will continue to make a massive difference in the success or failure of manufacturing businesses in the UK.