Manufacturing productivity is increasing as employment is decreasing. This trend indicates a surge in automation and a greater necessity than ever for product teams to use cutting-edge technology. There’s no denying it: we’re entering a new industrial era, the fourth industrial revolution.
The Fourth Industrial Revolution Industry 4.0 envisions a future with self-driving automobiles, 3D printers, and customizable automation. This revolution occurs when data and analytics from the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), automation, mobility, and the cloud merge in the form of data and analytics. Project teams that can use these technologies today will find themselves at the forefront of their industries’ digital transformation.
The project teams that succeed in the new environment are already preparing to navigate the possible disruptions brought on by these developments.
If you’re in the following categories, you’re a 4.0 team:
- Big data and analytics are being used throughout the current project life cycle.
- Personal study, employment, open-source initiatives, and side projects are good ways to get IIoT expertise.
- Some of your main systems are using mobile devices as the primary interface.
- Making automation work for you (rather than against you), allowing teams and organizations to think more strategically.
- Moving your software systems to the cloud is a great way to save money.
Another method project teams can withstand the fourth industrial revolution’s upheaval is to have security competence. As more important systems connect to the internet in the fourth industrial revolution, the threat of hackers will only grow.
Here are five technological best practices that project teams should use now and in the future.
1. Prepare for the Smart Factory
The IIoT will give birth to the “smart factory,” dubbed. All aspects of a factory, including machinery, goods, and almost the whole environment, are networked and linked to the internet under this configuration.
For the manufacturing project team, the smart factory heralds a slew of firsts, including:
- Flexible manufacturing capabilities for your company’s goods to adapt to changing global markets
- Greater material and energy efficiency in construction
- Smarter manufacturing procedures lead to increased speed.
- Technology solutions that support product manufacture from the client sales cycle to final delivery will enable more intelligent logistics.
In a smart factory, IIoT and big data serve as the “smart”. IoT transforms industrial equipment and the supply chain into data-generating intelligent agents. For self-learning, analytics tools bring in that enormous data.
Because they understand the growth of technology, project teams that leverage that self-learning may shift from reactive to visionary. The smart factory’s technologies provide employees with a better user experience (UX). In terms of application user interfaces and a contemporary, efficient, and ergonomic workplace.
2. Everyone can benefit from big data
In the fourth industrial revolution, data analytics will become more important for project teams. One of the key reasons is that the IIoT allows companies to collect actionable data from machines across their production plants.
This implies that everyone on the team, not just project managers, will have a graphical representation of data at any time and from any location. A picture of the health of the equipment, as well as other associated data, will always be only a few clicks away. Three types of analytics will begin to influence what your project team does on the production floor:
Allows the use of data aggregation and data mining to offer historical context and answer the question, “What happened?”
A kind of analytics that uses statistical modeling to predict the future and answer the question, “What might happen?”
Optimization and simulation techniques
It is used in prescriptive analytics. The output may provide various outcomes for operations and maintenance situations. As well as a solution to the question, “What should we do?”
For example, analytics will be used for security in collaboration, project management, and enterprise mobility management (EMM) systems. Before negotiating the next platform license with the platform provider, management may check the analytics for consumption patterns.
The fourth industrial revolution will see firsthand by the first project team in a manufacturing firm that uses data and analytics. It’s critical for your team to include analytics and data into their project management approach and understand how to communicate data-driven progress tales (and not see the analytics as intrusive).
Consider the team that wants their company to buy new technologies to expand their production platform in the future. The technical staff on the floor thinks the investment makes sense. On the other hand, executives are more difficult to persuade since they haven’t twisted a bolt since they graduated from high school. The resourceful project team can now provide compelling facts to CEOs, allowing them to converse with them as if they were peers rather than factory workers.
3. Put Automation to Work on the Manufacturing Floor
Automation will be another result of the fourth industrial revolution. Indeed, automation will disrupt project teams, making it a sensitive issue across many businesses. Executives are on the lookout for cost-cutting opportunities. Employees are afraid of being laid off. This conflict between workers and management must eventually turn into a platform where all parties seek out the chances and advantages that automation brings to the company and how to cast personnel into the future.
Because it eliminates human involvement in time-consuming tasks, automation speeds up production and delivery. To reap the advantages of automation, whether it’s freeing up skilled hands for more vital work or rearranging your workforce structure, keep the following in mind:
- Streamline or establish new procedures to account for the cost savings and other advantages that automation delivers to your factory floor.
- Use lean production techniques.
- Instead of using a spreadsheet to handle projects, use a versatile cloud-based project management solution.
Industry observers and experts predict that automation will inevitably replace some labor, putting your project team’s bonds to the test. While automation-proofing your position and team is difficult, if not impossible, the smart and savvy teams facing the fourth industrial revolution will be the ones developing, implementing, and managing automation solutions, lest they become one of the teams that are entirely or partially replaced by automation.
4. Mobile Devices Revolution
For information, collaboration, and business connections, billions of people now turn to their smartphones and mobile devices first. However, the industrial industry’s technological stack is still very mobile. Industry 4.0 will alter this by encouraging managers and technicians who want on-demand data access to use mobile devices on the factory floor. Think graphical rendering and reporting of data and statistics for machines throughout the line instead of constructing pivot tables in a spreadsheet.
In the fourth industrial revolution, other factors such as the emergence of citizen developers will also promote mobile use. These developers are digital-age business users (not programmers) who employ code-free or low-code technologies and cloud platforms to create their business applications. Manufacturing is seen as a mobile device-insecure sector by some due to financial and security issues. Bring Your Device (BYOD) is likely to be the first step toward manufacturing companies using mobile devices daily.
5. Smart Factory is Powered by Cloud Computing
Because of its flexibility and affordability, cloud computing will be the platform of choice in the fourth industrial revolution due to the dominance of IoT, data, and analytics. While cloud computing isn’t new to certain sectors, manufacturing companies are lagging. The retirement of older programs and mobile apps will accelerate this trend on the factory floor. Forward-thinking teams and companies are already shifting to the cloud, and cloud and application programming interface (API) integration utilization will skyrocket in the future.
When project teams enter a smart factory for work, they can expect to see the following:
- Legacy systems may cloud-enabled.
- Enterprise resource planning in the cloud (ERP)
- Proactive technologies, such as analytics for system maintenance scheduling
- DevOps-style alerts for system and equipment issues.
While cloud security remains an issue across businesses, public cloud companies have made security breakthroughs. The hybrid and private cloud alleviate these concerns for small to mid-sized businesses that can’t afford full-time IT security expertise.
Project Teams are Strengthened by Change
Some personalities and organizational systems might be thrown off by change. According to some commentators and experts, after the fourth industrial revolution, the function of government will become even more essential. Because they are the ones executing the job, I believe the role and power of the technology project team will grow in importance.
Knowledge workers now have some protection from the fourth industrial revolution since they may educate themselves on the technology that drives it to better position themselves inside their companies.
What steps is your team taking to prepare for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?