How to start your Industry 4.0 journey – by John Broadbent

By John Broadbent, leader of Industry 4.0 Workshops – getting the rubber to hit the road

Improving manufacturing performance is key to ensuring all resources are being utilised in the most efficient and sustainable way. Fundamentally, it’s about doing more with less, whether it’s utilities, raw materials, waste or people.

The large majority of manufacturing businesses are struggling with what’s become known as ‘digital transformation’, a phrase that’s been bandied about at conferences and in various media, from social to print. There’s a lot of hype around too, confusing many manufacturers.

What we do know from real-world research is that it’s happening all over manufacturing and business leaders are aware they must do something.

But how to start? Who to trust? What projects to initiate?

When it comes to manufacturing, Industry 4.0 is simply an expression of how a business functions, when it’s leveraging the 4th industrial revolution. Therefore, understanding what Industry 4.0 is (and isn’t!) through education is vitally important.

Those that have already embarked on this journey are reaping significant rewards and gaining competitive advantage, so there’s enough evidence now to know that this approach, when well planned and executed, delivers in spades.

There are various components to the digital transformation journey for manufacturers. A major one is that information from the manufacturing environment becomes more real-time. This means we know about issues sooner and evidence shows that as a business moves more toward a lead-measure-driven culture, it becomes more agile and therefore more responsive to changing conditions, both within the four walls of its operation and along the external supply chain.

It also improves customer-responsiveness, especially at the service level.

Finally, it’s not all about the systems. It’s about a fine-tuned alignment between people, processes and systems.

It also requires a committed leadership, otherwise, expecting initiatives to spring from the factory floor, without support, guidance, commitment, budget, strategy and resources, simply sets any project up for failure. The research and stats show this too.

In the end, digital transformation is a whole-of-business affair, best approached with the support of a committed leadership!

The Australian Manufacturing Forum and @AuManufacturing News have joined with smart factory educator John Broadbent of Realise Potential (pictured) to bring to you a series of INDUSTRY 4.0 WORKSHOPS designed for business owners and leaders. The first – Industry 4.0 – Getting the Rubber to Hit the Road – is scheduled for Rydges Hotel, Norwest, Sydney on Tuesday, March 31 at 8.30am.
The normal cost is $395 for the day, but @AuManufacturing has negotiated a discount rate for members of the Australian Manufacturing Forum. Use the discount code “AuMfg” on checkout to receive an additional $50 off the ticketed price.

Picture: Realise Potential/John Broadbent

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