How Cloud PLM gets you to Industry 4.0

//How Cloud PLM gets you to Industry 4.0
SRM relationship management

Summary: Many manufacturers talk about Industry 4.0, but less than 3% of them have actually achieved it. Cloud PLM makes it easier for manufacturers to leverage the data necessary to make Industry 4.0 a reality.

Industry 4.0 in manufacturing is here, but few are taking advantage of it.

Despite, the progress made in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), 3D printing, data analytics, machine learning, and virtual/augmented reality (VR / AR), the adoption rate of Industry 4.0 technology by manufacturers is staggeringly low.

With only 3% of manufacturers making the transition to Industry 4.0, we wonder what’s stopping the rest from implementing these technologies on the factory floor.

Only 3% of manufacturers have made the transition to Industry 4.0.

And with 87% of manufacturers reporting that Industry 4.0 is part of their plans, we know the slow adoption of this model isn’t due to a lack of desire.

Today, we look at the challenges manufacturers face on the path towards Industry 4.0, and how cloud PLM helps overcome these barriers.

So let’s get started by understanding exactly what Industry 4.0 in manufacturing entails.

What is Industry 4.0 in Manufacturing?

Industry 4.0 is all about factories that are connected and data-driven.

Ranconteur defines Industry 4.0 in manufacturing to be:

A new age of digitally enabled manufacturing whereby computers can control automated production lines. [It] is the bringing together of robots, interconnected devices and fast networks of data within a factory environment, to make the factory more productive and to execute the routine tasks.

It uses things like sensors, machine learning, and the internet of things (IoT) to automate the production process and reduce the amount of labor involved.

By letting machines do tasks prone to human error, Industry 4.0 improves the safety, quality, and waste of factories.

In addition to faster production, Industry 4.0 leverages data to further improve efficiency in other areas.

By harnessing the power of analytics, AI, and VR / AR, Industry 4.0 improves efficiency by:

  • Increasing uptime. The data collected on machine performance enables preventive maintenance so that machines are serviced before they break down, extending machine life and reducing production delays.
  • Reducing waste. With human error mitigated, fewer materials are wasted during production. Which means less rework, faster production, and lower costs.
  • Accurate demand forecasting. By analyzing factory output and customer demand, manufacturers can predict with more accuracy the raw materials they need and adjust production to meet this number. Which means the resources required for inventory management are freed up and can be reallocated to better meet company needs.

These are the big three, but there are other benefits too:

And these efficiencies translate into cost savings.

With manufacturers spending 10-20% of their total revenue on problems Industry 4.0 technology tends to solve, adopting the paradigm is well worth the cost.

Manufacturers spend 10-20% of their total revenue fixing problems that Industry 4.0 solves.

The Demands of Industry 4.0 in Manufacturing

The advantages of Industry 4.0 in manufacturing are great.

But what does it take to realize them?

With the power of Industry 4.0 dependent on leveraging data, manufacturers need to understand the data smart factories collect and then turn this information into actionable insights.

But to do so, there has to be someone to catch what sensors are tossing, and this is where software comes in.

The data smart factories produce needs to be stored somewhere that is accessible so that it can be leveraged by every department.

It also needs to be easily incorporated into the programs each department uses so that it can be acted upon and included in departmental strategies across the organization.

But the tools needed to do these things, such as IoT software, and data analytics programs, don’t come cheap.

The price of this software, as well as the teams needed to run them, are out of reach for the small and mid-sized companies who make up the bulk of the manufacturing world.

So without the necessary resources, where does this leave smaller manufacturers?

Well, don’t consider them completely out of luck…

There is a tool that helps SMB manufacturers reap some of the rewards of Industry 4.0.

And it’s known as cloud PLM.

Cloud PLM as a stepping stone

Priced within reach of smaller manufacturers, cloud PLM acts as a stepping stone towards Industry 4.0.

Cloud PLM helps manufacturers realize the benefits of Industry 4.0 without requiring a massive investment in new technology and without having to hire a whole bunch of data specialists.

By acting as a central repository for data that’s often siloed, difficult to find, not in a usable format, or out of date — cloud PLM can drive the same benefits that Industry 4.0 promises.

And since it’s hosted in the cloud, this data is automatically updated and is easy to access across the value chain.

Finally, cloud PLM allows teams beyond engineering use product data more effectively with the tools they already have.

Tools like Google Sheets and Gmail to their supply chain management system or an ERP.

Which makes turning product data into actionable insights for non-engineers a simpler process and doesn’t require the extensive overhead of things like IoT software and analytics platforms.

Wrap Up

Industry 4.0 in manufacturing isn’t just buzz. It’s the future of manufacturing and is increasingly a reality for enterprise organizations.

But the machines and sensors of Industry 4.0, are only as powerful as the systems that back them up — systems that are difficult or impossible for the smaller manufacturers who make up the bulk of manufacturing to access.

And while we’re still paving the road to Industry 4.0 for SMBs manufacturers, cloud PLM serves a significant stepping stone in the meantime.

Image Credit: CC0 License via Pexels

Think cloud PLM is helpful on the journey to Industry 4.0? Request a demo today!