COVID-19: An inflection point for Industry 4.0

Businesses are seeing the value proposition through investing in Industry 4.0 technology applications and digital business models. The pandemic has reinforced the value of industry 4.0, but it has also exposed the limitations of today’s implementations and set a higher bar for success. Anyone not on an Industry 4.0 journey have had a wake up call. Barriers to implementing industry 4.0 now include funding constraints in addition to lack of people, skills and knowledge and data-security concerns.

“Agility and flexibility in operations have emerged as top strategic priorities above raising productivity and minimizing cost, which used to be the primary objective for most. Similarly, technologies that enable remote working and collaboration topped the list of priority Industry 4.0 use cases, with more than half of respondents working on projects in that area. In second and third place came technologies to aid collaboration and visibility across the end-to-end supply chain, reflecting the need to manage volatile and disrupted supply networks.”

“A laser-focused approach to Industry 4.0 transformations seems the most realistic choice for most companies. Most will be better served by building a strategic roadmap for their Industry 4.0 ambitions, picking a handful of digital use cases that target their top one or two strategic objectives, and pursuing a rapid, agile process to refine, roll out, and aggressively scale these technologies. Organizations will want to be ambitious but pragmatic. The pandemic has reinforced the message that digital solutions have the most impact when they extend beyond the walls of an organization and encompass more of its end-to-end value chain.”

“As businesses across the world face a painful transition to the post-COVID-19 next normal, some companies may be tempted to slow, or even pause, their digital transformations. For most, that would be a mistake. Industry 4.0 leaders are already reaping the benefits of their pre-pandemic investments, creating the prospect of a widening gap between winners and losers. Instead, we believe the better option for most businesses is to focus their digital efforts, targeting the most strategically important opportunities and aiming to achieve real scale at an accelerated pace.”

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