How to be flexible in Industry 4.0
When it comes to an entire industrial revolution, you can’t just take a “wait and see” approach if you want to remain competitive. Technologies are developing rapidly, and executives and business owners must stay vigilant.
Step 1: Be on the Lookout for Ideas
Someone in your organization should always be on the lookout for new technologies that could play a role in your business. Watch competitors—pay attention to longtime industry leaders as well as newcomers. Stay on top of industry-specific publications and look for word of technologies, systems, and strategies that spark ideas.
Pay attention to signals of change. As soon as you learn of a new technology that could benefit your business, start thinking about how you could implement this new technology to benefit your company.
Step 2: Act Quickly
Found a great new strategy or technology that would be a perfect fit for your business? Don’t wait—act now. Don’t let the fear of the unknown keep you from moving forward. Be willing to experiment with new processes, business models, strategies, and technologies, because the ones that succeed are the ones who are willing to test new ideas.
This doesn’t necessarily mean you should act rashly and put lots of time and resources into something that is unproven, but at the same time, remember— if you don’t try, you can’t succeed. (How’s that for a cheesy quote?) Your idea might not pan out, but it also might catapult you to the leading edge of your industry, offering opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible without it.
Step 3: Make Sure It’s Adaptable
Since Industry 4.0 does bring with it unknown challenges and a highly unpredictable environment, you will need to remain flexible and understand that not every plan will work out exactly as you’d expect it to. With the rate at which materials and technologies are changing, it’s imperative to put adaptable technologies into place.
Adaptability is an important competitive advantage. Flexible and adaptable systems are the only ones that are going to win out. Even the smartest humans and the most intelligent machine learning algorithms fail when it comes to predicting the future, so you need to sink resources into technologies that are flexible and adaptable to whatever happens in the future of your industry.
Step 4: Test Thoroughly
Quick action is important and adaptable technology offers the opportunity for future changes and growth, but at the same time, it’s important to test out these new ideas as much as possible before you implement them. You will have to take some risks, but don’t digitalize your factories without careful thought and guidance.
To accomplish the testing phase, you can bring in experienced pros, talk to others who have implemented similar technologies, and do your best to predict a technology or system’s usefulness before you put all your resources toward it.
Learn more about how you can get ready for Industry 4.0 and Digitalization in the ebook 7 Steps to Get Ready for Industry 4.0 / Digitalization (Without Robots).