Why is industry 4.0 questioning us?
Until 2015, industry 4.0 was only a concept. Since then, it has become a reality and has led manufacturers to question themselves.
A new ecosystem was born in just 2 years. Governments, industries, software publishers and start-ups are all involved in smart industry. It is this new ecosystem that allows industry 4.0 to flourish, while responding to paradoxical challenges: being modern, connected, agile, competitive, open to international markets and very small series production.
“A new ecosystem was born in just two years. Governments, industries, software publishers and start-ups are all involved in smart industry. It is this new ecosystem that allows industry 4.0 to flourish, while responding to paradoxical challenges: being modern, connected, agile, competitive, open to international markets and very small series production.”
Industry 4.0 makes it possible to design and manufacture a complex and customized product. It is more responsive and flexible than anything imagined in the 2000s. It uses virtual simulation processes to anticipate the entire life cycle of the product before it is even produced. As a result, industry 4.0 significantly changes the return on investment equation.
When yesterday it was necessary to invest 1 billion euros to assemble 10 million cars, tomorrow it will be enough to invest 10 million euros to assemble 100 thousand cars. If it still requires an investment of €100 per car produced, 10 million customers will have to be found in the traditional factory, compared to only 100 thousand with these new concepts. If the vehicle does not please, in one case the manufacturer loses 1 billion euros, in the other 10 million euros. Suddenly, industry 4.0 allows the arrival of new entrants that can destabilize traditional markets and players.
Fantasy or reality? The case of Tesla Motors provides the answer, in proportions and on issues that are certainly different from the theoretical example, Tesla has become, after only 3 years of series production, a major player in the luxury car industry, alongside prestigious brands that are over 100 years old.
Reinventing oneself so as not to disappear
We can be traditional and serenely approach industry 4.0… as well as being recent and miss out, at the risk of being swept away by this new industrial revolution. Or, to be a newcomer directly born with the right tools and to surpass in a few years centuries-old competitors.
As proof during the Electronics High Mass at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, many historical car manufacturers came to actively participate in the show, where only Tesla and a few other new players were present before.
The whole industry is moving towards Manufacturing 4.0, particularly in the automotive sector where new partnerships are forged every week between manufacturers and players in the electronics and computing sectors, such as Audi with NVIDIA, PSA with Orange and Ericsson, Renault with Microsoft.
The ability of companies to adapt to digital and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies will be a decisive advantage in getting the most out of these new ways of working.
The flexibility provided by industry 4.0 makes it possible to put the customer at the heart of the industrial scheme. It is a form of return to craftsmanship in terms of personalized service, with the best costs and quality, all made possible by automation.
An agile IS and ERP
All the relationships between the industry and its ecosystem have been redesigned to respond to ever greater responsiveness, customization and quality.
The entire company’s information system must be adapted, from the management of a simple intelligent part that carries its production instructions on it, to the control of a 3D printer that provides flexibility in personalization, to the feedback of information in real time with connected objects. With industry 4.0, the plant becomes more connected, more intelligent and will rely on an ERP that has been able to rethink itself. As a true conductor, he will have to manage all these instruments in a precise, reliable and simple way. But the industry’s ERP 4.0 will also have to provide an increasingly user-friendly user experience with enough artificial intelligence to offload non-value-added loads and automate processes.
Business models are changing, new ways of producing have emerged, consumer expectations are changing. All this is not a fad but the advent of industry 4.0. A new era that has already entered production but whose modelling is not yet finished. Is it better to stay back and see the future built without us or to take part in industry 4.0 and try the adventure?