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Industry 4.0 and Challenges Manufacturers Face

This is the second in a multi-part blog series that focuses on Industry 4.0 in the manufacturing industry.

Industry 4.0 connects digital and physical technologies—AI, robotics, cloud computing and more—to create more adaptable, responsive and unified enterprises with the ability to make more informed decisions.

This iteration of an industrial revolution brings seemingly endless opportunities as well as seemingly limitless options for technology investments. As manufacturers seek digital transformation, they should consider several items to help guide their choices, such as:

  1. What exactly they hope to transform
  2. Where to invest resources
  3. Which technologies can best address their needs

Additionally, digital transformation will not occur in a vacuum. Transforming doesn’t stop just because new technologies have been implemented and are running. A true digital transformation has a big impact on an organization, and it affects strategy, talent, business models, company organization and more.

As Industry 4.0 continues to change the way manufacturers do business, new challenges obviously will arise. Here are just some of the many challenges they face when looking to tackle 4.0:

  • Considering new business models/strategies
  • Reorganizing processes to leverage better outcomes
  • Understanding business cases
  • Conducting successful pilots
  • Helping others in the company understand where action is needed
  • Changing management (a tough option that is often not considered)
  • Taking a look at company culture
  • Connecting departments
  • Recruiting, developing and maintaining new talent

So what should manufacturers be keeping in mind when addressing these challenges?

Rethink Your Business

According to McKinsey, “Industry 4.0 disrupts the value chain and requires companies to rethink the way they do business. They need to drive the digital transformation of their business to succeed in the new environment.”

McKinsey cites five pillars that are critical for this transformation, as described below:

Companies need to manage and treat data as one of its most valuable business assets This is important in securing critical control points.

Companies need to build digital capabilities – This includes things such as attracting digital talent and setting up cross-functional governance.

Companies need to initiate and enable collaboration – This requires getting involved in defining standards and encouraging cooperation across company departments through alliances, strategic partnerships and support in communities.

Companies need to manage cybersecurity – This protects digitally managed operations and proprietary data.

Companies need to implement a two-speed systems/data architecture – This will differentiate quick-release cycles from mission-critical applications with longer turnaround times.

“To leverage these multiple opportunities, companies need to embark on a digital transformation journey: a continuous, long-term effort is needed to successfully navigate the changing industrial environment of Industry 4.0,” concludes McKinsey.

Next Up

In the next blog in our series, we will look at how disruptive technologies will change manufacturing.

We know you want more on 4.0. You can EXPLORE more about the Industry 4.0 revolution and how MarkLogic is helping customers industrialize their data!


Kate Ranta is a Solutions Marketing Manager at MarkLogic. She is a communications and marketing professional with a focus on digital content strategy, inbound marketing, social media campaign management, SEO, and project management.

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