The business world has been a discreet witness to a quiet revolution that began in 2011 with the advent of automation, robotics and big data. This gentle breeze has turned into a roaring storm that threatens the future of work itself. Smart manufacturing, accurate forecasting, autonomous logistics and pretty much everything is driven by artificial intelligence. The threat is real.
So is the promise. For those in the know.
For starters, let’s go back in time to where it all began – 2011. Industrie 4.0 was an initiative of the German Government to modernize systems, provide smart manufacturing, and integrate it all with robotics and automation, based on high levels of digitization, en masse. However, the snowballing effect came into play and the use of sophisticated Industrial Internet-of-Things (IIOT) technologies, sensor-based logistics and production, zero-worker factories, and a whole host of other developments began to be clubbed into what we call I4 or Industry 4.0 today.
According to a McKinsey survey, adoption and optimism about Industry 4.0 is highest within German companies, followed by the Japanese. About 90% of the respondents to the survey said that their competitiveness will be enhanced or at the very least be at par with competitors, while 70% of enterprises – primarily in the US and Japan – see their competitors using the benefits of Industry 4.0 to enter their markets and increase the competition. Only six out of 10 participants consider their organizations ready for Industry 4.0.
Industry 4.0 is essentially maximization of intelligent automation and sustainable practices in the areas of supply chain, production, logistics, distribution and lateral operations of a business. Quite simply, it is the amalgamation of Industry 3.0 technologies with the significant advancements in autonomous computing, robotics and artificial intelligence to create faster, seamless supply chain management, production management and logistics with minimal – and in most cases with zero – human intervention. Computers are communicating with each other and with enterprise applications hosted in the cloud to optimize inventory, production and sometimes even demand forecasting and production scheduling, paving the way for smarter, faster and exponentially more efficient “smart manufacturing” processes and business operation systems.
The only aspect that seems to be missing from the Industry 4.0 agenda is the role of human efforts in the process. But the objective of intelligent automation and smart manufacturing is not to eliminate manpower from the industry. In fact, it is quite the opposite. The surefire way of skilling up to beat the phenomenon is to learn to strategize for core business growth, project and PLM, even 3D printing and robotics, and other such disciplines to maximize business growth and revenue opportunities for the enterprise. And this, precisely, is where the business strategist’s role comes into play.
While enterprises shift their focus away from manual manufacturing and operations processes, the role of driving the transformation and being the change agents for Industry 4.0 will fall to business strategists. They will be the frontline advocates and business modelers revamping entire talent pools with new skills, while selectively and gradually ensuring the advent of Industry 4.0 within their organizations.
What is paramount today is the skill development of young professionals in welcoming and implementing Industry 4.0 by becoming qualified business strategy professionals, ready to take their employers into the next decade and the next generation of smart manufacturing with ease and competence. Employers, too, are increasingly looking for skilled and certified business strategy professionals for their Industry 4.0 initiatives. So don’t get left behind, and acquire the world’s most powerful business strategy certifications today to uplift your career!
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