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The Current State Of Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 — Where Are We Now?

Industry 4.0 — What can other industries take away leading automotive manufacturers in this aspect? Roland Berger, strategy consultancy of European origin with a strong international presence offers its takes.

The term “Industry 4.0” was coined more than ten years ago to describe the efficiency that could be achieved by digitalising manufacturing operations. Various technological and organisation challenges made digitalising manufacturing more complex. 

Despite these challenges, some industries made significant advances over the past decade – such as automotive. Roland Berger talked to leading global automotive OEMs, Tier-1 suppliers and other industry experts.

Key learnings such as clear prioritisation of digital manufacturing, setting up a dedicated cross-functional smart manufacturing team following a hub-and-spoke approach, definition of a clear IT/OT target landscape and a strong employee-focused training are lessons that enable automotive and non-automotive players accelerate their journeys to Industry 4.0.

Digitalising manufacturing, also known as “Industry 4.0”, is a key building block in the “Next Generation of Manufacturing”. It enables a higher degree of automation on the road to autonomous production. Manufacturers invested significant time and resources in building up the necessary capabilities and identifying, developing and rolling out use cases within their production plants.

Digitalised Manufacturing – Where Do We Stand Ten Years On?

More than ten years after coining “Industry 4.0”, we are still miles away from the original vision of an intelligent, fully flexible and self-organising factory. Where do we stand now? Which digital manufacturing use cases have been implemented, currently being piloted, and which are still in development phase?

Press releases and marketing literature give the impression that everybody is doing everything. This can be explained by the experimentation and fail-fast approach which are often referenced concerning digitalisation; an extension of Industry 4.0.

To analyse the current state of digital manufacturing, we narrowed our analysis and looked at the use cases seen as key value drivers which attract the lion’s share of digital manufacturing investments.

“Industry 4.0 was coined with immense hopes,” says Bernhard Langefeld, Partner at Roland Berger. “While companies have invested substantial capital, most of them are still far away from the original vision of an intelligent, fully flexible and self-organising factory. Other sectors can benefit from the automotive industry’s experience and avoid various unnecessary mistakes. By building on an overarching digitalisation strategy, structured processes and an organizational model that enables digital innovation, companies have a very good chance of leveraging the potential of Industry 4.0,” Langefeld summarises.


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