India has been gearing up for Industry 4.0, surpassing another industrial revolution and lunging unwaveringly into the Internet of Things. Humans and humans, humans and machines and machines and machines -interaction of these variables has been possible through connectivity. India, is now the hotspot of most industrial activities made possible by our IT stronghold. India today is prepared for connectivity, since it is very well known as IT-hub for the world. Indian IT-companies and Indian based subsidies of global IT-players produce smart software solutions for the world.
Industry 4.0 reveals some powerful emerging currents with strong potential to change the way factories work. So, what is Industry 4.0 and how is it applicable to manufacturing in India?
Industry 4.0, is the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It includes eg: cyber-physical systems, the Internet of things and cloud computing. It is the future of manufacturing. Its enhanced technology, digital systems and automated processes makes it optimum for manufacturing of quality products.
McKinsey, for example, helps explain these disruptive trends defining Industry 4.0 –
- Big data
- Advanced analytics
- Human-machine interfaces
- Digital-to-physical transfer
While Industry 4.0 is still a work in progress many leading companies are working their way through new methods of digitization and automation in order to define the future of manufacturing. While we are acquainted with the multitude of benefits that Industry 4.0 can bolster the market with, there are still a few loopholes.
- The immense data that Industry 4.0 requires, leaves space for risks. Data security needs to be enhanced.
- As more jobs are automated and done by machines or robots, new and often better paid roles can be created for those willing to reskill. It will create new openings in other fields especially the digital sector. But, some studies say, that a significant share of low skilled jobs will disappear. The industry needs to be prepared for this transformation by i4.0 training for leaders and employee qualification.
- The biggest challenge for the implementation of Industry 4.0 in India is neither budget nor technology, or the age of the production lines. It is leadership and qualification. First the managers have to understand it and be able to ask the right questions. The approach is Top down, leaders must drive the revolution. If they don’t know how to use for example open source software, cyber physical systems or cloud solutions, they will never be able to understand the benefit of I4.0 for their organization.
- Instead of “failure is not an option” in an agile company failures must be understood as an area for improvement, but this requires a systematic approach. Leaders must support it and empower and enable the teams.
- Industry4.0 competence needs to be developed in all areas of production and business related processes. An I4.0 academy for managers and an I4.0 curriculum for planners, technologists and logistics is the need of the hour. The curriculum for these people needs to be developed.
- The next point is the change in the working culture. In a connected Industry before machines are able to talk to machines, the right people need to talk to each other. Only an effective collaboration of IT-guys, technologists and other people can deliver the right solution. Instead of a pyramid culture we will come to more or less a matrix structure, across the hierarchies.
- Cost effective, simple and appropriate “Indianized” solutions have to be developed
Having said this however, India is still better equipped with the right setup to make this possible. The vision is a digital factory concept that includes intelligent sensors with web servers built into them that can connect to the internet providing big data. Secure IT infrastructure would then be needed to connect machine-to-machine, shop floor to the office environment and from there out to the supply chain. A mammoth IT hub, skilled labour, lenient policies by the government, a new and digitized India, access to land, and resources – India is an incubator, slowly building up speed and surely heading towards Industry 4.0 with help from local and foreign manufacturers who find this environment conducive for change.