Manufacturers constantly search for ways to reduce costs, improve efficiency, meet new customer and partner expectations and become more profitable. At the same time, regulatory pressures, increased globalization and intensifying competition force enterprises to rethink and reimagine their businesses. More recently, workforce challenges, the urgent need for environmental sustainability and disruptions caused by COVID-19 have led many to accelerate their digital transformation agendas by deploying smart factory technology.
The ongoing digitization of design, engineering, development, and production of goods has already driven greater efficiency and productivity. Now, serving customers with the agility and flexibility of an intelligent or smart factory—which is to say, realizing the promise of Industry 4.0—is poised to become a true differentiator for manufacturers.
Key Technologies Powering Industry 4.0
NTT DATA and Oxford Economics surveyed 500+ business and IT executives to understand how leading manufacturers are progressing in their industry 4.0 journeyGet the Full Report
In our survey of more than 500 businesses and IT executives in seven manufacturing industries, revenue growth was the highest strategic priority. But over the next three years, there is a clear shift from inward-facing initiatives, such as reducing costs and improving process efficiency, to market-facing priorities like superior customer experiences and developing new products, services, and business models. Transformation emerged as a key theme. And even though only 24% say they have completed their transformation fully, nearly all respondents have started transforming some aspects of their business models.
Our study uncovered the following macro trends driving Industry 4.0:
All manufacturers are not on equal footing when it comes to digital transformation. Sub-industries within the manufacturing sector vary widely when it comes to how products are made, where products are shipped, and what services are provided to which customers. These differences demand unique approaches to Industry 4.0 transformation—and our research shows that specific needs determine the path an organization follows.
Get the full report to learn how executives in automotive, high tech, industrial equipment and supplies, oil and gas, utilities, process manufacturing, as well as packaging and paper goods are tackling Industry 4.0.
Teri Robinson, Oxford Economics technology managing editor and Matthew Reynolds, Oxford Economics Technology research manager, discuss highlights from their recent study and how the results show that manufacturing organizations are adjusting how they define success.WATCH NOW
There are significant challenges to Industry 4.0 adoption. Some of the common ones include data management, IT modernization, talent and internal friction. Here’s how organizations can overcome these challenges:
While Industry 4.0 promises true transformation, merely adopting smart factory technologies and checking the box is not the solution. Organizations will also need to reimagine what the intelligent factory looks like and how these technologies fit into their core operations such as finance, sales and marketing. The goal is to create a dynamic digital ecosystem that enables humans, machines and systems to continuously interact and communicate with each other while at the same time empowering new workforces and workspaces to become innovative, productive and generate lasting customer value.
The pressure on manufacturers to remain competitive and agile has increased. Hear experts from the Manufacturing Leadership Council & NTT DATA discuss how to accelerate Industry 4.0.Listen to the Conversation
“The unique events of the past two years have combined with all the challenges already familiar to manufacturers, driving an inexorable need for digital transformation and the full embrace of Industry 4.0.”