Before the coronavirus pandemic, manufacturers were just beginning to adopt tactics put forth by Industry 4.0, or the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The foundational technologies that makeup Industry 4.0 include human-machine interaction; advanced engineering, analytics intelligence; and connectivity, data, and computational power are extremely impressive. In fact, for manufacturers using digital solutions based on Industry 4.0 principles, the disruptions caused by COVID were lessened and they did better than their peers throughout the crisis. Importantly, some of these strategies can be advanced without major investments in technology as in the case of digital work instructions and performance management, allowing manufacturers to see big benefits with modest outlays of capital.
Only one thing was certain over the last year — and that was that change is constant. Across all industries, changes wrought by the ongoing pandemic brought great challenges, but also unexpected opportunities. And nowhere was this more evident than in the manufacturing industry, where according to one survey, nearly all players saw their business suffering long-term effects from the pandemic. In response to these changes, however, 91% of manufacturers have increased their interest — and investment — in digital technologies to fuel a transformation.
Lean manufacturing — or the process of eliminating unnecessary waste and increasing productivity — is a tool that manufacturers wishing to be at the forefront of competition in the coming years must have to be successful. Fine-tuning workflows at all levels of business, from operations to human resources, is a critical aspect of improving company agility and the ability to rise above. Fortunately, new resources have provided a plethora of tools to assist manufacturers in optimizing their business processes, such as: