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With the potential to transform industrial manufacturing, Industry 4.0 brings out the importance of big data. Although it’s a trendy subject and even a bit of a buzzword, i4.0 has so much potential that you may want to consider implementing it already.

Industry 4.0 is the latest bandwagon to jump on for companies that want to maintain a competitive edge. Fair enough – it brings useful technologies and processes that help make products better and more user-friendly for less money. But it’s also a buzzword that’s surrounded by a thick cloud of hype. Is i4.0 the magic marker that could rewrite the rules of manufacturing?

There’s no denying that Industry 4.0 has mounds of potential. Tech research company Gartner suggests that by 2020 the Internet of Things market will be worth approximately 3.7 trillion dollars. According to Morgan Stanley’s research, the cyber security market (a crucial condition for the existence of Industry 4.0) will be worth roughly 183 billion dollars by then.

2020, with all its potential, is right around the corner and there’s no reason to doubt that i4.0 should reach its projections. According to Advisory Director of KPMG Finland Anders Hahnsson there’s one basic point to keep in mind when it comes to fully embracing i4.0, and that’s value creation.

“How can we manufacture products and services in a better, faster, safer and more sustainable way? It’s the same business everyone’s doing now, only supported by new technologies and means and with better results,” he says. 

How can we manufacture products and services in a better, faster, safer and more sustainable way?

Industry 4.0 puts big data on a pedestal

We’re welcoming the fourth industrial revolution mostly thanks to digitalisation and technological development. Information technology has taken huge strides in recent years, computational capacity has grown and current data
transfer is as fast as it can be, which is illustrated by the new 5G network.

With a new era comes a new currency. As the contested motto of the age of i4.0 claims, data is the new oil. When used efficiently and ethically, data improves the integration between product, customer and user. That boils down to how to tailor for masses, or mass manufacture personified products, Hahnsson says.

Collecting more data throughout the supply chain and taking more advantage of it are high priorities for KPMG. It’s important to know, for example, how end users use the final products or services or what the cost value chain consists of in order to improve both the quality and features of products and services.

“The aim is to reach a point where the supplier knows more about how the product is used than the customer itself. That’s a way of creating additional value for the customer and a deeper sense of intimacy between the user and the product,” Hahnsson explains.

The aim is to reach a point where the supplier knows more about how the product is used than the customer itself.

Automatisation makes way for creative thinking

Something that needs to be remembered among all the potential and excitement is that no one knows exactly what Industry 4.0 means and how far its impact extends. The world of tech has already embraced it, but it might take over fields that aren’t as easily robotised. What does, for example the future of 3D printing or autonomous factory logistics look like from the point of view of i4.0?

Hahnsson predicts that as tasks are being automatised, the value of cognitive skills continues to increase. ”The emphasis on learning will become stronger, as future jobs require creative thinking that artificial intelligence isn’t capable of, at least yet”, he says.

And that’s what it takes to keep up with the fourth industrial revolution: the ability to think outside the box, as well as take risks and keep learning. Hahnsson thinks that the biggest threat for companies and their executives is to neglect the implications of i4.0 on their business and thus to be left behind. Although it moves forward in massive strides, the fourth industrial revolution is far from complete. But while it might be incomplete, it’s a force to be reckoned with.

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