It’s been called the next industrial revolution—Industry 4.0. What is it exactly? Industry 4.0 refers to the leap in manufacturing made possible by the digitization of data, encapsulating the entirety of an organization’s people and processes—from the conference room to the manufacturing floor. This enormous, digitally- accessed data source is the groundwork by which new technologies are helping manufacturers improve efficiency and impact profits moment to moment, 365 days a year.
1. Cloud computing reduces infrastructure costs while increasing agility
Traditionally, IT environments are established and nurtured on-site. These environments include costly, real-estate-requiring physical assets including hardware, software and support. With the advent of cloud computing, manufacturers are transitioning whole data centers (including servers, switches, computers etc.), software portfolios (such as enterprise resource planning [ERP], customer relationship management [CRM] and productivity applications) along with related human resources to this newer dimension. Cloud computing removes up-front costs of infrastructure and enables CIOs to opt for this pay-as-you-go model instead. And, because the cloud is not confined by physical walls, manufacturers can scale up or down quickly with real-time needs rather than hit-or-miss forecasts.
2. Data analytics accelerates optimization, uncovers competitive sweet-spots
Industry 4.0 is the age of interconnectedness. Previously, the sum of an organization’s information assets existed in silos corresponding to business groups, departments and even whole geographies. This data was previously culled, compared and interpreted by lengthy manual processes. Manufacturers now employ data analytics to mine incredibly advanced insight for not only improving process, but for designing entirely new services to fill unmet market need and expand revenues—using the resources they already have.
3. Mobile devices allow real-time communication, internally and externally
Yesterday, mobility meant alerting a plant manager by cell phone or accessing the day’s production metrics from home. Today, devices like tablets and smartphones allow information to flow throughout an organization— internally and externally, person-to-person, machine-to-machine and person-to-machine—without interruption. This real-time, whole-company connectedness yields incremental improvements in time and cost-efficiencies. More importantly, it gives manufacturers a competitive edge over their less-connected peers.
4. Social media platforms increase engagement, expand marketing reach
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. Organizations utilizing these social media platforms gain critical customer insight and more opportunities for improving ROI. When audiences engage through social media, they give companies instant, usable, digital feedback in the form of what they like, what they don’t, what they react to and what they ignore. At a singular level, these statistics enable organizations to customize the user experience (like engaging them on their platform of choice). Globally, combined customer data is driving new business ideas and revealing new revenue streams. This “big data” is also used to track the successes and missteps of marketing campaigns in real-time, enabling decision-makers to make profitable adjustments along the way.
A 2014 survey of global senior manufacturing executives revealed that a whopping 63% “planned to get more out of what they already had instead of making capital investments.” We see evidence of that today as more and more manufacturers tap the kinds of technologies that help them capture, analyze and act on their own data quickly and profitably.
iDatix is helping today’s manufacturers take the next step in business process improvement with data capture solutions that digitize and unify unconnected assets including physical mail, faxes, email and images. Learn now how iDatix can help you improve business process and increase ROI by leveraging the data assets you already have.