Today’s global enterprises are complex organizations with diverse needs. Operations and supply chain teams understand how Industry 4.0 technologies like automation and robotics can streamline business operations, and over the years, they’ve deployed various systems and processes. As the number of devices in the ecosystem proliferates, companies are challenged to manage their growing complexities to maximize efficiencies as they scale up to meet demand.
These challenges are not unique to manufacturing, the sector most associated with Industry 4.0. Industry 4.0 fundamentals can help any enterprise in any industry better manage its growth and remain competitive. In the digital Industry 4.0 era, companies across each sector will reap the benefits that intelligent operations promise: efficiency, cost savings, agility, and sustainability.
The Problem with Disparate Data
Decision makers in operational and supply-chain roles must evaluate hundreds of approaches and tools in their mission to connect enterprise systems and processes. The need for integration grows daily within the organization and throughout the global supply chain as companies try to balance present-day challenges with future growth. The ongoing struggle to keep pace and integrate systems is common to all industries, with some of the most common challenges including:
- Siloed data sources due to disconnected systems, creating challenges in planning, tracking, and predicting future business needs.
- Potential loss of competitive edge due to an insufficient supply of information, which in turn leads to a reduced response to market changes.
- Sluggish response to sustainability demands due to a lack of enterprise-wide visibility into relevant activities.
- Increased cost of business due to more complexity and inefficiencies.
Industry 4.0 promotes system and process integration, a critical consideration not only for increased visibility and intelligence but also for delivering cost savings. The same principles that enable “factories of the future” can be used by any enterprise. By incorporating Industry 4.0 fundamentals, organizations can boost resiliency and enterprise-wide visibility, enable intelligence-based decisions that accelerate innovation, add new revenue streams, and support progress on their sustainability journey.
Benefits of Embracing Industry 4.0
Through our work with companies in a variety of industries, Wipro has helped global enterprises overcome their integration and intelligence challenges to achieve tangible success. Overall, their embrace of Industry 4.0 principles has delivered benefits in two key areas: revenue and operations.
Revenue growth can come from strategies as diverse as the companies with which we’ve worked. For example, a consumer-durables manufacturer was able to unlock a new revenue stream through an IoT-enabled appliance that helped them enter the smart-kitchen space. A petrochemical company, meanwhile, maximized an AI-based system to increase equipment uptime through predictive maintenance, boosting revenue more than $100 million in three years.
Similarly, operational gains can come from several areas. An automotive parts manufacturer, for instance, expanded its use of digital twins and robotics to reduce costs while increasing capacity, allowing them to produce more units. In another example, an energy provider/water-management corporation used machine-learning models to identify and create solutions that provided early predictions of failure, thereby reducing unplanned maintenance and plant shutdowns, which significantly reduced operating costs.
A Strategy for Success
Industry 4.0 has long been known to help improve factories, making them faster, smarter, more productive, and sustainable. Yet the benefits of adopting Industry 4.0 principles can impact any business across any industry, from automotive and CPG to oil/gas/utilities and semiconductors. Industry 4.0 promises to disrupt many business models by inspiring more efficient operations and greater productivity. With an established Industry 4.0 strategy to build intelligent products, intelligent operations, and intelligent assets, enterprises become more intelligent, resilient, and ready for the challenges of tomorrow.