Back in 2011, the term Industry 4.0 was introduced by the German Government in the Hanover Fair. This marked the beginning of the 4th Industrial revolution. The term Industry 4.0 indicates more productive companies. It encompasses many concepts that include digitalization, mechanization and automation, networking and miniaturization (Ustundag & Cevikcan, 2018).
The transformation into a more productive company requires the implementation of infrastructures supported by sensors, machines, workplaces and information technology that are communicating with each other and also with external systems. (Ustundag & Cevikcan, 2018).
Industry 4.0 focuses on establishing intelligent communication between machine-to-machine and machine-to-humans. In addition, Industry 4.0 comprises the following eight foundational technologies advances: adaptive robotics, data analytics and artificial intelligence, embedded systems, communication and networking, cloud systems, adaptive manufacturing and virtualization technologies. (Ustundag & Cevikcan, 2018).
The jump into Industry 4.0, improving productivity in the company has led to the transformation of a Digital factory. And in order to become the Digital factory of the future, it is required to accelerate and industrialize the digital transformation.
Digital transformation needs radical analysis of the way organizations uses technology, people and processes to change the business performance and to exceed customer’s satisfaction. Digital transformation is impacting all industries, not just manufacturing, and affects start-up and legacy companies as par.
Many companies have already entered the transformation phase to catch up with many tech giants. They are in the process of making radical changes to the organizations, re-skilling people, setting up innovations labs, experimenting with new technologies.
But all these new changes need to be done with the correct vision and purpose in mind. First of all, organizations need to understand what is the actual outcome that the customers need and expect? Clear and correct goals need to be established. Agility needs to be in place, where the organization can design, build, test and iterate. It is crucial to embrace transformation and Systems thinking as a continuous way of working.
Another essential advice is that employees have the right mindset. Digital transformation is all about people transformation and keeping the workforce up to speed with the required skills.
A real digital transformation will be successful if people are passionate, curious and motivated.
Nobody has a crystal ball to predict the future, but there are exciting times already occurring and many more coming our way. The digital transformation high speed-train is already at full speed, and companies that are failing or have not embarked the train will have a difficult time to survive.
Ustundag, A. & Cevikcan, E., 2018. Industry 4.0: Managing The Digital Transformation. Maçka, Istanbul: Springer.