30 Apr Why Your Industry 4.0 Implementation Might Be Doomed to Failure
Industry 4.0 is a hot topic at the moment. The largest companies in the world are investing unprecedented amounts of money and are betting every penny of their savings on this new approach. The movement first started in Germany and has now spread throughout the world. Every single day, multiple innovations are emerging and the digital transformation is growing at an astounding speed. Any company that has not taken the future of industry into account in its business plan should not be allowed to call itself innovative. We are witnessing the advent of a new industrial era, and if you want to board the train and begin your move to digital technology, the time is now or never.
But wait a minute… let’s not rush into things!
Unfortunately, a number of businesses are jumping in without taking a step back to plan their implementation. A failed implementation will prevent you from taking advantage of the large number of opportunities offered by digitization. At Nubik, we have already led several projects to completion, and we have had to face all kinds of issues. Here is a list of the four most frequent errors we have come across.
- No forecasting or lack of follow-up
Even before investing such a considerable amount of money, the company must identify and quantify the benefits it is expecting to gain once the technology has been implemented. Is it to increase revenue? To lower costs? Or to improve the quality of the services it provides? Industry 4.0 offers a whole lot more than what I have listed in my example above. It is up to you to discover the opportunity that will make a significant difference to your industry, and allow you to differentiate yourself and get ahead of the competition.
You do not need a psychic reading to quantify the value to be added down to the very last digit. You simply need to do your homework and to account for all the costs associated with this kind of transition, and on the flip side, to estimate the benefits gained once the implementation is completed.
In most cases, an experienced consulting team will be able to guide you in this exercise to ensure that you are setting realistic objectives. It is also critical to compare your forecast during and at the end of the project and take corrective action as needed.
- Omitting to view the project as an investment
Industry 4.0 has many advantages and the companies that have already embraced it have seen their productivity grow at an astonishing speed. Unfortunately, those results are not always achievable instantly. That being said, the size of the company, the industry sector and the ability of its leaders to manage change are all important factors that come into play.
Getting frustrated on the first day you have to deal with a new way of working is certainly not a good approach to handling change, and could have very negative consequences on the organization as a whole.
The vision must start at the top of the hierarchy and will naturally filter down to the rest of the employees. If the executives are not positive about the transition and expect to see benefits realized minutes after the launch, there is a good chance that the employees will share that vision and will also quickly lose their motivation.
Once again, you have to be realistic and patient, and to put in place an effective change management plan to avoid creating a toxic work environment which would hamper your development.
Take a look at a few innovative technologies you might want to invest in to ensure the survival of your company.
- Adapting the business to the software
Within Industry 4.0, specifically when dealing with the Internet of Things (IoT), there are two ways to reach an outcome. One way is for researchers to play with the data, a process which will hopefully lead them to an innovation. Once the solution has been found and defined, the next step is to identify the issues which it may be able to solve. The other way is much more pragmatic. We start with a problem that needs to be resolved and we try to find a solution.
If you direct your staff to tailor their entire processes to the new software, you are guaranteed to fail and to lose your investment! Your employees will simply go back to using the old Excel spreadsheets and become non productive. A better way would be to find out how the consulting firm could help facilitate the change and break down the resistance barriers. For example, if your organization is doing business in several countries, the solution will need to take into account the various currencies and languages involved in order to automate the translations and currency exchange. In this particular case, we adapted the software to the business reality and the employees have all viewed it as a positive change.
It is therefore crucial to tailor the solution to your business reality, not the reverse. All effective software package on the market today allow a lot of room for customization. It is up to you to adapt them to match your business vision and to learn how to best take full advantage of their capabilities!
Are you a manufacturing company? We have prepared a guide to help you choose the right CRM/ERP system for your business.
- Forgetting about the end user
When you are discussing your needs with the consultant, you should remember to talk about the end user, or invite one to the table so he or she can explain in detail his or her daily tasks and specific needs. I have often seen employees reverting to using Excel spreadsheets, even though their company chose to rely on some of the most expensive and effective software packages on the market. This is obviously a complete waste of money and opportunity, and showcases the importance of considering the end user in the decision process.
It is not at all unusual to have different needs within an organisation. Each department may have different objectives or experience different issues, whether short-term or long-term. It is important to meet as a team to identify common issues and get a global picture of the situation. This is also a golden opportunity to describe the various operating procedures and to come up with carefully planned and comprehensive solutions.
Communication is therefore a key component of success for the digitization of future industry. Remember to involve the greatest number of stakeholders possible during your decision phase.
Did you know that augmented reality can positively impact your employee productivity? There are numerous examples of how this technology has been successfully integrated within the manufacturing process.
These four mistakes are only the tip of the iceberg and there are unfortunately many more. Some businesses have not been able to manage this transition phase successfully, but it could have been worse, they could have done nothing while the industry continues to evolve extremely fast! To maximize your chances, it is important to secure the help of an expert team that will soon become a partner and will continue to support you. Take the time to view these real business cases of companies which we had the opportunity to work with and consequently, were able to help flourish. Who knows, one of these success stories may inspire you!