The technologies of Industry 4.0 hold unimaginable promise in transforming manufacturing and driving societal progress. Still, there is limited access to the know-how and the methodologies required for a successful digital transformation.
As you embark on your digital transformation journey you will need a compass. For Industry 4.0 digital transformation that compass is Education. Your captain, sailors, and crew must all be aware of the ship’s course, and its destination should be well understood and defined.
It is therefore important to create an enterprise-wide leadership mindset, build capabilities across all key stakeholders and align the organisation with the importance of the road ahead. Educating your teams can become a powerful tool to tackle the challenges all manufacturers face. First, education harmonises the leadership technology potential and showcases real value cases. Second, the technology and vendor complexity all manufacturers deal with can be faced with new solutions for old problems and new solutions for new problems. Third, the change management challenges are tackled through scaled learnings of solutions’ implementation.
Educating your teams by focusing on the specific needs of the different personas that will drive the transformation across all functional positions will help your organisation gain a 360⁰ view of Industry 4.0. Each stakeholder of the enterprise can advance their technology-specific understanding with the relevant Industry 4.0 dimensions training courses.
Once the organisation has reached a common level of Industry 4.0 understanding, all the stakeholders can work on a real plant case study workshop, in which the Industry 4.0 digital technologies, automation technologies and organisational enablers are connected. Through this workshop, the participants can consider the managerial challenges of building an Industry 4.0 roadmap while illustrating concrete use cases for several key technologies.
Plant Lead Teams can learn several key Industry 4.0 applications, select the right ones from a complex array of possibilities, and confront the challenge of sequencing steps to develop strategic thinking about Industry 4.0 transformation. And that is the first and most solid step toward an enterprise-wide digital transformation.
The digital transformation journey should not be considered a one-off event, but rather a process that continues to leverage new opportunities, adapts, and optimally progresses. Consequently, Education apart from being the first and most fundamental phase of the Industry 4.0 journey, often runs in parallel with the other three phases of digital transformation (Prepare, Define and Execute) to fulfill the need for new knowledge, to scale learning across the whole enterprise, and to accelerate the organisation’s digital transformation.
Manufacturers need to adopt an Industry 4.0 educational framework, which can act as a key decision support tool to simplify the learning process across technology, organisation, and value creation. Such a framework should have a continuous, active role in the digital transformation process, starting from setting the basis to regularly assessing the teams’ knowledge and prioritising areas of focus. During the definition of the digital transformation strategy, education is predominant as it enables manufacturing leaders to drive the transformation and learn by doing in order to experience strength and opportunity areas, and plan ahead.
Lastly, during the implementation of the digital transformation plan, it is key to keep updated on technological developments, leverage thought leadership practices through ongoing connection with the top academic ecosystem, discover cutting-edge vendor solutions, and participate in structured community events.
Whether you consider starting your Industry 4.0 transformation or you are in the middle of the journey, it’s important to keep in mind that people play a predominant role in this process and they can be the most decisive factors toward a successful digital transformation.
Find below some useful tools to start your digital transformation journey: