Manufacturing 4.0, the push toward increasingly smart factories and M2M connections, is at work in the global manufacturing industry. A recent report from Frost & Sullivan’s Manufacturing Leadership Council (MLC) outlined six critical issues facing the industry, including the need for adopting new technologies.
“The MLC’s decision to embrace Manufacturing 4.0 as its direction for the future reflects a powerful ambition to use advanced technologies to take manufacturing to a new, game-changing level,” said co-founder and Global VP and Editorial Director of the Manufacturing Leadership Council David R. Brousell. “The opportunity to use information to speed and tailor production, engage more intimately with customers, and create new products and services previously unimagined, is almost limitless. Now, the challenge for manufacturing executives is to lead their companies into this brighter future.”
The six issues on which the report focuses are “Factories of the Future,” transformative technologies, innovating manufacturing, cybersecurity in manufacturing, the next generation of manufacturing leadership, and the changing workforce. These have been identified as areas that manufacturers should consider in order to maintain high-quality business practices in 2015 and 2016.
Factories of the Future includes the migration from current production models to Manufacturing 4.0, which incorporates end-to-end digitization of manufacturing processes. Transformative technologies include the Internet of Things, the cloud, 3D printing, Big Data, and plant floor analytics. Transitional models can help businesses see how transformative technologies will affect their factories and create new business models.
In terms of design, the idea of innovative manufacturing enterprises includes using design to help drive innovation in manufacturing and product lifestyle management. Collaborative innovation with employees, suppliers, external partners, customers, and the public can be managed using technology. This is tied to manufacturing leadership, and means that leadership role models need to be prepared for future-focused planning and Manufacturing 4.0.
In the larger business world, social changes such as reducing the skills gap, increasing education, and developing employee engagement for people of varied ages and cultures must be considered.
With more technology comes cybersecurity vulnerabilities, so manufacturers looking to add M2M connections to their facilities must consider examining security technology best practices and bridging the gap between IT and operations.
The complete Critical Issues Agenda can be found at Frost & Sullivan. It is an annual publication of the Manufacturing Leadership Council, based on consultation with more than 200 senior executives and associate members of the council and its board of governors.
Filed Under: Industrial automation