You’ve probably heard discussions about industry 4.0 and maybe you’re a little confused about exactly what it means. For those of you interested in knowing a bit more about the concept and how it fits in with your print business, we've got a great webinar for you to watch! Here's a summary of some of the main points to whet your appetite, and a link to the full session at the end.
At the heart of industry 4.0, there are themes that differentiate it from previous revolutions and highlight the main ideas surrounding it. These are…
In the webinar we also discuss the concept of a Smart Factory - a factory that uses all the above technologies and allows data to be constantly shared and analyzed through the connection of machines and production systems. This illustration from The Boston Consulting Group attempts to illustrate the difference between today's factories and the smart factories of the future. By automating repetitive tasks and connecting processes together, presses can become less reliant on the operators, freeing up time for employees to focus on more complex and innovative tasks.
Our webinar panel had an interesting discussion about how much automation can be achieved in an industry where every job is different, and also how we avoid the commoditization of our products by introducing too much automation. They concluded that printing companies definitely should take advantage of as many Industry 4.0 technologies as possible, while investing in their people so that they can achieve:
Of all the objectives above, the last one is key – to become a bionic print company. Much like the Six Million Dollar Man (google it if you’re too young!) companies need both the skills of humans and the processing power of machines in order to evolve in line with industry 4.0. They cannot, in fact, achieve the other four objectives without achieving this. This was the final conclusion of our panel in the webinar, and they finished with the three key things that a printing company needs to do to become bionic:
Step 1: Investigate and implement technology - you need to consider all of the Industry 4.0 technologies available to you and continuously implement new applications.
Step 2: Invest in people and culture - you need people on your team who understand these new technologies and who are excited to apply them to your business. You also need to take away the mundane tasks from the rest of your team, leaving them to focus on the more rewarding activities that add value to your business.
Step 3: Make technology part of your team - you then need to merge these two aspects of your business (people + technology) together, and we’ve covered this topic in more depth in this article.
If we’ve intrigued you and you want to watch the full discussion that covers additional topics to the ones covered in the article, you can get access to the webinar here.