Industry 4.0 – the Fourth Industrial Revolution
The term ‛Industry 4.0’ stands for ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’, a new step in organizing and managing the entire value chain across the whole lifecycle of products. This cycle is oriented towards increasingly individualized client demands, ranging from the idea, commission, development, production and product delivery to end consumers, right through to recycling with all the related services. This is based on the availability of all relevant information in real time by connecting all the parties involved in the value chain. Furthermore, it is characterized by the ability and capability to draw optimum value from data at any time. The connection of people, things, and systems creates dynamic, real-time optimized, self-organizing, and cross-company value chain networks, which can be optimized in line with various criteria, such as cost, availability, and consumption of resources.
Concerning the current status
The majority of companies are focussing intensively on the topic of Industry 4.0 and already have concrete plans in place. Most companies now realize that they stand to benefit from Industry 4.0 in many ways. They are no longer viewing Industry 4.0 solely as a means to increase productivity. The topic is thankfully now viewed on a more differentiated basis. This also includes the awareness that digitalization in industry goes hand in hand with cultural change and that a uniform implementation has to be a «management issue». Companies are executing projects in various corporate areas. However, it is not yet possible to say that Industry 4.0 is being rolled out across the board in companies. It can be assumed that companies are first of all going after their «low-hanging fruits», which makes complete sense. Only those companies that learn from initial pilot projects will invest in the future and, at some point, be able to tap into the full potential of Industry 4.0. In addition to the numerous «use cases» that are possible with the latest digital technologies, companies should, however, also look at their digital business models. This topic is still receiving very little attention, even though it is forecast that this will have the greatest leverage effect for companies.
«The topic of Industry 4.0 is now viewed on a far more differentiated basis.»