Getting consensus on the best strategy for harnessing Industry 4.0 isn’t easy. That’s ok. What the pundits say isn’t keeping leaders up at night – there are plenty of real world challenges for that. What we do know is leadership will look very different in the digital age of manufacturing.
For decades, manufacturers have evaluated innovation through the lens of lowering costs and improving efficiency. It’s worked. But in the new industrial age, manufacturers need to ask a different set of questions to reach a better balance between efficiency and effectiveness for sustained advantage.
Manufacturers are all a-twitter over digitization. Everyone knows that it’s coming, everyone knows they need to get a handle on it and more than a few are wondering if, when, why and how. The wholesale transformation can be daunting concept – until you realize that manufacturing isn’t the first industry to go digital. Manufacturers can look at what their colleagues in marketing experienced and be heartened by all the good that’s come with digitization.
Made in China 2025 was launched in May of this year and from where I sit, it represents an inflection point for US manufacturers. The investment around the world in fulfilling the vision of the factory of the future signals that the race is on to lead how those operations are run. New technologies, including smart, collaborative robots are here – the roadmap for exploiting them isn’t. First mover advantage only lasts so long, and those who wait will find themselves left behind….
Recently, electronics manufacturer Jabil Circuit launched its Blue Sky Center, a state-of-the-art facility designed to help customers engineer growth in a world of change. Automation is a key component of the center – with programs to help customers with design-for-automation, as well as, share expertise in deploying flexible automation. I was fortunate to be at the grand opening…