24 October 2014
Yesterday, I hosted a webinar, Visibility in Manufacturing: The Path to Industry 4.0. To a handful of manufacturers, the coming age of cyber-physical systems is the inevitable next step. For most, however, these concepts are decades away from mass adoption. I advise you not to worry.
Don’t get lost in the hype.
Instead, focus on mastering Industry 3.0 concepts, more specifically - automation, to gain greater visibility and control over your manufacturing operations in the nearer term. Tackling visibility from process to product to department and eventually throughout your entire organization, will feed into and support your ultimate path to Industry 4.0.
Listen, I meet with manufacturers often and I am consistently asked how they compare to others in the industry. So during the webinar, we asked attendees a few questions about the state of their manufacturing operations. Below is the Q&A we conducted.
|Do you spend at least an hour a day searching for assets or products?|
|How many variations of a product do you build on a single line?|
|What is the main cause of manual errors in your plant?|
|What percentage of wireless tools do you have in your plant?|
|51% and up||0%|
Interestingly enough, the results collected during this webinar are in line with the survey we conducted over the summer that reflects answers from more than 250 manufacturers. So what does this tell us? Many things really, but fundamentally – manufacturers need more visibility so they can improve productivity, efficiency, and their bottom line.
How can manufacturers gain more visibility? During the webinar, I outlined a few steps to consider:
Be Selfish – Start small and local. Pick a pain point and tackle it. Prove to your organization and yourself that the technology you choose works.
Be Forward Thinking – Understand your next step and ultimate goal and invest in the right infrastructure from the outset.
Be Cooperative –Share your success and work with other people and departments. There are significant benefits when the entire organization invests in technology that contributes to greater visibility and control.
Be Supportive – Guide other plants through the process to help the organization prepare for the final step – Industry 4.0.