In 2020, industrial digitisation will be put to the ultimate test. Faced with the worst health and economic crisis in recent history, companies of all kinds were forced to take extreme measures to protect their employees and keep their operations running. While some battled to keep operations running in the face of labour or raw material shortages, others fought to keep up with the unexpected surge in demand.
Now fast forward to 2021, the threat of the pandemic is shattering many of those long-term beliefs. The shock of the quickly falling (and perhaps eliminating) global demand has hurt India’s manufacturing economy. In this bleak environment, it’s possible that Indian manufacturing may reorganise itself to meet local demand. In the not-too-distant future, how will these factories generate goods?
The fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0)
There are three possible outcomes: A win for companies already scaled with digital technologies, a reality check for those currently scaling and a wake-up call for those who haven’t begun their Industry 4.0 adventures. The Industry 4.0 survey of global manufacturing companies has been tracking Industry 4.0 for a long time. The most recent poll of more than 400 companies globally provides a picture of leaders’ thoughts six months into the coronavirus pandemic. Overall, 94% of respondents claimed Industry 4.0 assisted them in keeping their operations functioning during the crisis and 56% stated these technologies were crucial to their crisis responses.
Manufacturing industry’s best prospects
The pandemic has hastened the transition from global to more local economies, which has already begun because of international trade tensions and other considerations. Industries aim to relocate supply chains closer to home as part of this change, offering significant ‘reshoring’ prospects. This means that manufacturers and the industries they serve are either establishing new factories or reviving old ones that have been idle for years due to globalisation’s expansion. The new factories are likely to be smaller and more automated, with technology that allows them to switch product lines quickly as demand moves. As a result, other manufacturers, such as those who develop automation components and ‘integrators’, who put together automated systems, will have a chance. Manufacturers that supply components for technology devices, data centres and cellular connections have profited from increasing investment due to the growing demand for personal technology items & remote connectivity.
What can companies do right now to ensure a brighter future?
Manufacturers must adapt to many transformations as they move forward in a changing landscape, frequently by modifying procedures. Automation can help safeguard workers’ healths by reducing touch between them. Mid-size manufacturers can investigate the boundaries of their manufacturing processes, discovering one or two areas that could be automated and advancing modularly.
Focusing on most strategically significant possibilities
Leaders in Industry 4.0 are already reaping the rewards of their pre-pandemic investments, threatening to increase the divide between winners and losers. Instead, we can believe that focusing their digital efforts on the most strategically significant possibilities for most firms and going for true size faster is a preferable alternative.