Industry 4.0 is hot in the manufacturing sector. As they face numerous technology challenges, manufacturers must learn to innovate to stay ahead of the competition. Industry 4.0 indeed promises to help companies up their game with respect to competitiveness and productivity. 

What is Industry 4.0? 

According to the CEFRIO, Industry 4.0 is a current trend whereby automation and data exchange come together to create intelligent factories. Equipment and systems seamlessly communicate and work with each other in real time in order to boost performance levels.  

With an intelligent and integrated manufacturing system, companies can now offer more customized and smart products, which, in turn, will entirely reinvent product offerings the world over. 

The four design principles

Industry 4.0 can be broken down into four different levels. It’s important, however, to understand that Level 4 is not an end unto itself. Each company must carefully consider what level it wishes to attain based on internal processes and overall market development objectives.

Level 1- Monitoring
Establishing a smart system that monitors the overall state or performance of a product

Level 2 -  Control
Developing a system or product that can be controlled remotely 

Level 3 -  Optimization
Developing means to control how a system operates  

Level 4 -  Autonomy
How monitoring, control and optimization mechanisms work together to create intelligent and interconnected systems that achieved unmatched performance levels.

All companies are at different stages of technological innovation. However, they must nevertheless strive for Level 1 in order to undergo substantial change and remain competitive on global markets. 

Industry 4.0: Accessible for all types of companies 

While Industry 4.0 is evolving at a rapid-fire pace, it nevertheless remains accessible to all types of businesses, regardless of their level of technological expertise. Companies should address Industry 4.0 on a project-per-project basis in order to take full advantage of it advantages. You need not deploy a full-scale Industry 4.0 strategy. You must above all identify which technologies are right for your business and which ones will generate significant gains in the short and long term.

Furthermore, implementing Industry 4.0 need not break the bank. Many technologies are surprisingly affordable, which enables many manufacturers to meet the increasing consumer demand for cheaper products. Digital technologies are ideal to cut production costs, improve your product offering, and maintain your profitability.

Your first hurdle is to make sure that your management team is on board to set up an Industry 4.0 strategy. The team must be convinced that the company can achieve substantial gains in adopting new technologies as well as leverage the expertise and skills of all your teams. 

If you want your business to develop new markets, and better its top and bottom lines, it must make the leap to the fourth industrial revolution—and play catch-up with Ontario and US companies. According to Éric Tétrault, President of the MEQ, Québec is 25 years behind on other provinces and countries regarding its adoption of Industry 4.0. Don’t delay: Industry 4.0 is the best way to innovate and remain relevant in today’s competitive landscape.

Sources

CEFRIO. Prendre part à la révolution manufacturière? Du rattrapage technologique à l’industrie 4.0 chez les PME. http://www.cefrio.qc.ca/media/uploader/cefrio_industrie_4-0_pme_version_web.pdf. Novembre 2016 .

Investissement Québec. Propulser nos manufacturiers innovants. http://www.manufacturiersinnovants.com/.

PWC. L’industrie 4.0 : l’occasion de briller pour le secteur manufacturier canadien. http://www.pwc.com/ca/fr/industries/industry-4-0.html.

Ministère de l’Économie, Science et Innovation. Industrie 4.0 : les défis de la quatrième révolution industrielle. Gouvernement du Québec. https://www.economie.gouv.qc.ca/objectifs/ameliorer/formation-et-perfectionnement/page/guides-et-outils-22210/?no_cache=1&tx_igaffichagepages_pi1%5Bmode%5D=single&tx_igaffichagepages_pi1%5BbackPid%5D=31&tx_igaffichagepages_pi1%5BparentPid%5D=22020&cHash=fa2f8d6edee88d1f00754914c8209e66.

Radio-Canada. Les compressions nuisent au commerce extérieur, déplorent les manufacturiers exportateurs. . http://ici.radio-canada.ca/nouvelle/744070/manufacturiers-exportateurs-quebec-exportations-manque-ambition-critique-philippe-couillard-mexique-coupe. 13 octobre 2015.

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