The term Industry 4.0 has been used throughout the manufacturing sector since 2011 – the so-called fourth industrial revolution that promises manufacturing companies a profit through digital networking.
Industry 4.0 is also a real-time, intelligent, horizontal and vertical networking of people, machines, objects and information and communication systems. The aim is to control complex systems as well as optimise production processes, products and services.
As opposed to previous industrial revolutions, which arose from the further development and mechanisation of manufacturing, the fourth industrial revolution was proclaimed by the German Federal Government as a strategic project for the future. Initially a topic companies were hesitant to adopt, it has now become well-known in the broad mass of production. In Germany, 80% of all manufacturing companies consider industry 4.0 to be strategically relevant and 89% expect its strategic importance to further increase in future.
Nevertheless, 45% of the companies occasionally use Industry 4.0 solutions, while another 20% plan to introduce such solutions. Its revolution has thus begun, but is not yet completed – the main reason being lack of organisational structures and policies as well as its high investment and development costs.
A study has been conceptualised and presented by the Corporate Development Department (CDD): “Industry 4.0: Implement it! Guideline” that provides impulses and recommendations on this topic. Recommendations are made in the form of a concept on implementing and integrating industry 4.0 as a whole. For its successful implementation, concrete organisational structures, processes and instruments are presented as well. In order to convey the contents as practically as possible, two case studies were examined throughout the study, using the contents as examples.
With this study, the CDD is countering the lack of implementation concepts for producing companies, so that Industry 4.0 can be introduced into entire organisations and sustainably established. The guideline also serves the cross-sector implementation of Industry 4.0 solutions. The study draws a comparison to the development and implementation of the lean-management concept at the end of the 1990s. A concept that met broad interest in the manufacturing sector, but took several years to implement.