Companies in every sector are racing to achieve Industry 4.0 competence but many are being blinded by today's new technology. They fail to recognize today's unique opportunity to enhance performance and value across the entire value-chain spectrum. Few seem to comprehend that real i4.0 interconnectedness can only be attained through a cross-functional approach - with new value opportunities explicitly identified.
Unfortunately, many companies are launching Industry 4.0 initiatives based on a specific technology - augmented reality or digital twinning, for example - rather than seeing each innovation as one component within a strategic, integrated enterprise roadmap. We see diverse projects or use cases being conducted simultaneously - but they are rarely aligned. The picture is further complicated by the traditional business model in which projects are entirely managed within separate functional groups.
Ultimately, these businesses are working backwards. Yes, analytics tools will deliver new customer insights. Digital twinning may improve design and performance. Robotics and machine-to-machine capabilities can accelerate production. So your factory might run a bit more smoothly. Costs could decline. Customer satisfaction may rise. But maximizing Industry 4.0 value hinges on interconnected technologies whose vast capabilities are integrated at a product and value-chain level.
If you’re like many companies with isolated or technology-led i4.0 initiatives already in play, it’s time to take stock, evaluate the results from your efforts to date and engage the C-suite to pursue a more strategic vision that includes performance and value creation. - Michele Hendricks, Global Executive for Industrial Manufacturing and Executive Director for Global i4.0, KPMG in the US.