Industry 4.0 Revolution or Evolution?

Industry 4

Revolution

is defined as a dramatic and wide-reaching change in the way something works or is organized or in people’s ideas about it.
Source: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/revolution

Evolution

is defined as a gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.
Source: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/evolution

Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0, Industrie 4.0 or the fourth industrial revolution,[1] is the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things and cloud computing.

Source:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industry_4.0

Benefits

According to a survey from PwC Management Consulting in Munich (January 2015) the companies are expecting following benefits from Industry 4.0

  • Increase in turnover attributable to Industry 4.0 cumulated, incremental growth in 5 years of 12.5% (2.5% per year) [European companies expect more than €110 billion additional revenue per year attributable to Industry 4.0]
  • Improved satisfaction of customer requirements, by Horizontal co-operation.
  • Reduction of the time from idea to final product on the market
  • Enhanced flexibility
  • Increased efficiency

Revolution or Evolution?

Industry 4.0 will drastically change the way we are working and make decisions, and therefor has to be considered as a revolution in the industry.

On the other hand the term Industry 4.0 was created after the actual driving technology already existed and is continuously developing. We could argue, that the IoT was a direct result of the development of computer technology, which is said to have started in 1927 with the differential analyzer, built by H. L. Hazen and Vannevar Bush at MIT. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computer) This would indicate Industry 4.0 is part of an evolution.

Also it could be argued that Industry 4.0 is an evolution of data collection and analyze of Lean Manufacturing (KPI). One important part of Lean is the availability of information and best in real time, to be able to react fast and better to customer requirements. Also Industry 4.0 and Lean claim to improve the whole value stream. Even the goals or benefits are very similar.

Conclusion

My personal conclusion is, that Industry 4.0 is revolution and evolution at the same time. Industry 4.0 is changing, and even will much more change, the way of working and even living as well it will help to achieve more benefits and easier problem solution capabilities in Lean, Lean SixSigma and other areas.

We all should focus on, how could we use the new technologies in our area of expertise to develop a work and living environment in which hopefully everybody will find her/his place.

To read the full version of my thoughts about Industry 4.0 please click here.

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