New White paper on Industry 4.0.
Australia’s RMIT University has a new white paper (pdf) on Industry 4.0 for SMEs based on research, in-depth interviews and case studies. While it’s aimed at Australia, the content is equally applicable to other countries.
The paper addresses the scepticism and misconceptions SMEs tend to have have around return on investment. It also provides advice for SMEs uncertain about how to begin their Industry 4.0 journey.
The paper identifies the following issues for SMEs:
- Acquiring the most relevant data
- Integrating systems for better-aggregated data
- Visualising the data
- Extracting more value from the data
Barriers include a lack of understanding of Industry 4.0, low buy-in from top management, limited solutions tailored to the needs of SMEs and data security concerns.
The paper identifies the three main requirements for success:
- Commitment of top management
- A deep understanding of one’s own business and the potential and desired level of transformation
- Having a clear implementation strategy
I4.0 is not a one-off technological solution that can simply be bought off the shelf; it is a journey of continuous, incremental learning and improvement… it does not have to be an ‘all or nothing’ approach
The authors advise that you need to be clear what data you actually need and then move forward incrementally, developing an Industry 4.0 workforce while involving key stakeholders in the journey.
The further down the path a business progresses, the more transparent its business operations will become, leading to greater agility, competitiveness and profitability
The paper concludes that, contrary to existing perceptions, using Industry 4.0 technologies does not necessarily require major investment. Affordable technologies can return significant value when expertly deployed.