The impact of Industry 4.0 on Manufacturing
If you are in the business of manufacturing, you have most likely heard the term Industry 4.0 recently. You have also probably noticed how it’s impacted your organization these past years. The innovations of this latest industrial revolution may not be as seismic as those that went before it; however, it still entails changes to the way we see and act in manufacturing.
As the industry becomes smarter and more communicative, you and your team need to stay in charge by being adequately qualified and skilled to manage your machinery, at every level. Ensuring your workforce is at the top of its game helps guarantee business continuity and success throughout the transition to Industry 4.0.
By keeping up with your workforce’s skill sets, both at the individual and team level will also keep auditors at bay – as technology develops, so must you and your team! Knowing who is qualified for which role, and when their qualifications are up for renewal, helps relieve tension when that pencilled-in inspection date is looming.
Before we get into audits and the impact Industry 4.0 could have on manufacturing, we need to know exactly what Industry 4.0 is.
The fundamentals of Industry 4.0
So, what is Industry 4.0?
The term Industry 4.0 was initially coined in 2016 by Klaus Martin Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. And its naming plays on tech lexicon as it implies a system update rather than an overhaul. It is an industrial revolution: the fourth, in fact. And much like the previous three, changes will be most pronounced within the field of manufacturing. However, unlike the other three, Industry 4.0 will improve current infrastructures and processes rather than overhauling them.
The road map of Industry 4.0 is based on an information-intensive transformation that connects big data with people and processes. New innovative features are being designed to enhance the way we work – helping actualize targets of growth and sustainability. This is only possible because of advancements in three areas:
- Internet of things covers the entire network of connected machinery which communicate and exchange data.
- Cyber-physical systems are mechanisms controlled and monitored by computer-based algorithms.
- Big data is the emerging field of analysis that handles data sets too large or complex to be managed by traditional systems.
It is only through a combination of the above three areas that Industry 4.0 has become possible.
Industry 4.0: aims & objectives
Industry 4.0 has three core objectives: reduce, unburden, and improve. It aims to reduce waste, unburden both equipment and people, and improve risk management. The way it will do this is as follows:
Industry 4.0 promises to reduce waste on multiple levels: time, effort, and capital. It also promises to reduce the industries carbon footprint by helping to cut down on material waste in factories. Co2 levels will also decrease throughout all stages of the supply chain.
Unburdening equipment and people
As robotics and automation enter the manufacturing floor and the supply chain more generally, certain tasks will require less human involvement. Menial tasks, mostly. This does not mean that your workforce will be out of work – far from it. It just means that they can focus their efforts on other aspects, such as overseeing the areas where robotics have been introduced.
Improve risk management
New smart features are helping improve safety standards throughout the industry. There are plenty of sensors now on the market which can detect any potential faults. These faults will then be reported to your team instantly. Some sensors can even turn off machinery automatically when they spot numbers above their safety threshold. These features are then capable of stopping any issue before it arises.
Passing audits with the additional data from Industry 4.0
All of this change can only mean one thing: more data!
As your systems and processes smarten up, so must you. This industrial revolution has much to offer; however, it can only provide as much as your workforce is skilled to manage. It doesn’t matter how much you smarten up your businesses, you’ll only be able to progress to the level of your staff. If your team isn’t sufficiently skilled then you won’t be performing optimally, giving an avenue for your competition to outshine you. You also run the risk of failing audits.
Audit. Not another one!
External audits are unavoidable. They can also be a little stressful. This is unsurprising as you have an external body in your workspace evaluating how your organization is running. If you’ve recently installed new machinery or have changed your processes, the pressure will inevitably increase. You may even be doubting yourself about whether your team has the necessary qualifications and skill sets to run your new machinery. And as you know, getting caught out by an auditor is costly! So, while Industry 4.0 has the potential to further your business, it also has the potential to increase audit anxiety. Yikes, right!
A failsafe way to pass audits
You needn’t worry too much, though. Especially if you know the golden rules for an external audit. If you’re well prepared and know where your strengths lie, you’ll ace your audit every time. There are safeguards you can employ which will help mitigate risks, too. One such method is through using AG5 Skills Intelligence Software to get a clear overview of your skills management. You’ll have a foolproof tool to see when qualifications are either required or expired.
AG5’s software not only protects you from current audits, but it can also help you prepare for future ones. It does this through skills tracking updates and notifications.
To find out exactly how AG5 Skills Intelligence Software can help your business, you can book a demo with us at a time convenient for you!