Last week, we discussed the rise of smart factories, which are modern day manufacturing operations that use top of the line computing and technology to streamline their operations. In truth, however, smart factories are but one aspect of something much larger and more significant--something that has come to be known as the fourth industrial revolution or industry 4.0. The concept was first coined and explored by World Economic Forum founder, Klaus Schwab, in his aptly titled 2017 book. Both the concept and the terminology stuck; writers and business leaders today still discuss the implications of increased computing power and data analytics on global manufacturing.
Maziar Adl; CTO of Gocious, a product management software company, describes the new industrial revolution in an article for Industry Today: "Processes that have worked for software and high-tech companies in the last decade have now made their way to the factory floor. Powered by sensors and internet-enabled devices, manufacturers can get real-time information about both manufacturing equipment and products built for the end-user."
In other words, technology that was once only viable for upper management or technology specialists can now be adapted into more day to day operations, including many aspects of production. This means that firm leaders need to have an accurate understanding of how they can best take advantage of this new tech.
The Everyday Revolution
One of the most important aspects of this new industrial paradigm is the ubiquity of interconnected personal devices. If you were to turn back the clock only ten years, the prospect that every person on the street would carry a internet-connected device with them at all times; one that's also capable of communicating with other devices through Blue Tooth, cloud computing, and other innovations; would have probably elicited raised eyebrows.
While no security expert would recommend building a data network for a massive industrial operation through the use of personally-owned smart devices, the ease with which technology can now gather data in real time allows undeniable insight into production metrics. Other new technologies like artificial intelligence, product management software, and 24-hour security monitoring, allow managers to refine their production processes by spotting gaps in production, broken equipment, and other systemic problems that in the past would have taken days or even weeks to resolve.
In addition to increasing production efficiency, a well-developed data network can help firms build out their communication infrastructure by removing data and technological silos. Organizations that have failed to create viable mechanisms of sending information between the firm's sectors are losing out on important insights, according to Mr. Adl: "Helpful data may be trapped within an organization’s silos, where one part of an organization can’t learn from another. Across an entire manufacturing process – which may take years from inception to product completion – organizations can’t afford to be challenged by not leveraging their data."
Join the Revolution!
Any industrial firm that wishes to compete in today's market must be able to leverage technological innovations to grow their businesses. Let's conclude with one final bit of advice from Mr. Adl, "Because many manufactured products and processes today rely on software as much as hardware, companies need sophisticated teams with advanced degrees in software and coding as well as engineering and technical, industry-specific knowledge."
If you're looking for a partner to bring your business into the future, please don't hesitate to schedule a free consultation with Titan Tech. Their new, expanded service tiers can help you with everything from data analytics to building out your cyber security measures to removing those pesky organizational silos. Don't miss out on all opportunities technology can reveal.
And join us again on Thursday for more tech news.