In all industries it’s all about the need to provide a competitive edge. To do something that puts you ahead of your rivals. In a market that’s stagnating, or one that’s thriving, the edge is so important.
And invariably this comes from tech. Understanding the need for the competitive edge is the easy part. Applying it to the unique nature of your individual business can be the hard bit.
In manufacturing this edge can be achieved by providing customers with a customised service, shorter delivery times and having a 24/7 operation. Industry 4.0 can combine the hardware and software associated with the factory floor, enhance all elements of supply chain and logistics, and provide transparency throughout. As Angela Merkel put it; “everything that can be digitised will be digitised.”
That’s fine in theory. It’s the practice that concerns business owners. But the important thing to note is that nothing happens overnight. Implementing tech into your operation will often be a slow burner.
Here are a few changes that can be made now to kick start a transition to industry 4.0 further down the line.
Look at your approach to evaluating new technology
With so much tech out there, it’s only natural that businesses in the manufacturing space are exploring their options. Dipping your toe in the water purely because the technology exists can work, but it’s likely to be costly and may not lead to your ideal solution.
With so much out there it pays to consider it from a different angle. Think of this as your individual business lens. Ask yourself what are the issues with your operation? Where do the inefficiencies exist? Are your people able to work to their best capacity?
By looking critically at your own operation, you’ll begin to understand the tech that can solve your bespoke problems and that can enhance your day to day workings. By using this approach now, you’ll naturally flow into industry 4.0 when it’s right and required for your business.
Establish a new process
For many traditional businesses, processes are set in stone. They work. And it doesn’t seem like there’s any need to fix things.
But how can your existing processes for testing, fit with emerging tech? If the tech is new, you’ll need new processes. You might look to shorter stages, advancing ideas, building prototypes and scaling things up.
The process should be new, but it should also be tailored to your operation.
Change your mindset
Failing is ok. The businesses that innovate, solve people-first problems and ultimately disrupt their industries don’t get there first time. They aren’t afraid to make mistakes, viewing them as key learnings and the next step towards achieving their aim.
For bigger businesses, this is a difficult mindset to achieve, but it’s an essential one required for change and to achieve that competitive edge.
Engage with those around you
Start-ups and smaller businesses are by their very nature more agile and responsive to change. To ensure your business is in the place it needs to be to adopt the right tech for your needs, it’s important to engage with those relevant start-ups in your space.
You can evolve and grow together. View this process as building a digital eco-system with your business at the centre. You can build, develop and ultimately push your business into the space it needs to be for the right adoption of industry 4.0.
At J B Cole, we’re working with several businesses in the manufacturing industry to ensure the right tech is adopted for the needs of the company.
You can learn more about our client approach and results through our case studies, as well as our work in the manufacturing industry at one of our upcoming events.