In South Africa, the technologies of Industry 4.0 are being leveraged for success. Emerging technologies like Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS), the Internet of Things (IoT), the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT), cloud computing, cognitive computing, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) are revolutionising industries across the globe.
By assessing key areas, manufacturers will have an in-depth understanding of where new technologies can be deployed for value addition. Combining intelligent automation with robust, real-time decision-making capabilities, leads to a more productive and efficient manufacturing environment.
The benefits of this approach can particularly be seen in the areas of workforce, process optimisation, asset optimisation and customer experience.
Key Benefit: Modernisation
Technology in the workplace can be leveraged for success by allowing access to relevant, timely data through role-based dashboards. This affords managers the opportunity to plan the use of resources and control labour costs. Employee experience can also be enhanced with the ability to provide mobile access to work instructions that can be accessed at any point from any device.
Employees must be provided with proper technological tools, and education about those tools, to stay ahead in the industry. They need well-defined goals, expectations, and priorities. Regular feedback loops should be provided for the effective management of workforce resources.
AI and Business Software Systems
These technologies can be leveraged to identify current process inefficiencies and automate process workflows, allowing for supply chain precision. This is achieved by:
- Identifying bottlenecks
- Developing a clear inventory view
- Establishing a consolidated view of financial planning
Current practices can be revised to include latest best practices, which can then be implemented to automate repetitive tasks. This level of holistic planning can be achieved either by consolidating software within one system or by implementing a two-tier Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) strategy. Further benefits include being connected to a commerce network which allows for the global tracking of materials with measurable results.
Technology for Optimal Functioning
Technologies such as sensors and data analytics will assist in ensuring advanced efficiency and productivity. Leveraging IoT to connect data from sensors to Enterprise Asset Management (EAM) systems enables early detection of any performance issues:
- Data is analysed
- Predictive analytics using embedded functionality to recognise patterns, applying data science algorithms to protect against such incidents in the future
This allows the business to anticipate, reveal and manage how the asset’s performance can be optimised, saving opportunities and asset health indicators.
Automated Quoting and Customer Self-Service Network
This can be achieved through an integrated approach between the Quoting (CPQ) and ERP systems, ensuring co-ordination between all disciplines and specialisations within the enterprise. This technology helps customers feel empowered while allowing manufacturers control of the customisation, ordering and delivery processes. The result is a unique and seamless customer experience tailored to the specific needs and desires of both the customer and manufacturer.
Subscription-based Business Model Network
Utilising this subscription-based business model generates a recurring revenue relationship by charging customers a regular, usually time-based, fee. This model allows manufacturers and distributors to increase their focus on customer experience while positively impacting their bottom line.
Technology adoption starts with a comprehensive assessment of current operations, building goals, and identifying gaps. With focus on the areas of workforce, process, assets, and customer experience, industry 4.0 technologies can effectively be leveraged for success.
For more information about how to leverage 4IR to your benefit, please contact Shanon Ramdaw at Shanon.Ramdaw@ioco.tech.