Industry 4.0.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is still in its nascent state. But with the swift pace of change and disruption to business and society, the time to join in is now.

Gary Coleman

Global Industry and Senior Client Advisor, Deloitte Consulting

Industry 4.0, the Fourth Industrial Revolution, is the integration of advanced technologies – such as artificial intelligence, machine learning and Internet of Things (IoT) – into the manufacturing process.  Implementing 4.0 has the potential to bolster efficiency, quality, customization, supply chain management, safety, and attracting and retaining top talent.    

Increased efficiency: By optimizing processes, reducing waste, and enhancing productivity, operational cost is considerably reduced.  For example, using IoT sensors to monitor production lines identifies and corrects bottlenecks in real time, while predictive maintenance can reduce downtime and increase uptime.  

Improved quality: Advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms identify and correct quality issues before they become major problems, reducing scrap and network. 

Enhanced customization: Products are tailored to individual customer needs.  Additive manufacturing (3D printing), for example, produces unique and complex pieces previously impossible or prohibitively expensive to manufacture.  

Improved supply chain management: Supply chain visibility is improved, inventory management is optimized, and lead times are reduced, fostering a manufacturing process that flexes with marketing conditions and customer demand.  

Increased safety: Smart sensors and connected devices assure worker safety by monitoring environmental conditions and providing real time alerts for potential hazards. 

Managing manufacturing equipment has been transformed by Industry 4.0.  Condition-based maintenance utilizes digital tools and systems to monitor, optimize, and maintain equipment.  The result? Productive capabilities of tools and machinery are extended, and the lifespan of manufacturing assets are increased – both significantly decreasing a facility’s carbon and water footprint. Through optimized equipment, operational- and energy-efficiency are improved, and material usage is minimized

Predictive maintenance.  With the help of sensors, data analytics, and machine learning algorithms, equipment managers can predict when equipment is likely to fail and schedule maintenance proactively.  Downtime is reduced and efficiency improved.  

Remote monitoring.  IoT sensors and devices monitor equipment in real time, regardless of location.  This promotes faster response times, reducing the risk of downtime.  

Asset tracking.  RFID tags and other tracking technologies monitor equipment location and usage, providing insight into which equipment is used most effectively and which may need to be replaced or upgraded.  

Digital twin technology.  A digital replica of physical equipment or systems simulates behavior and performance under varying conditions, allowing for optimization and testing before real world application.   

Augmented Reality (AR).  AR provides real time information as to equipment performance and maintenance needs, fostering accurate and expedience diagnosis and repair. 


At the end of the day, one of the most invaluable outcomes of implementing smart manufacturing or Industry 4.0 is its role in attracting and retaining the best and the brightest.  It offers a paradigm shift in how people think about manufacturing – regardless of the sector.  Advanced manufacturing inspires and excites top talent, especially those new to manufacturing.  Industry 4.0 technologies not only grab the attention of newcomers, but these facility strategies also can render a manufacturer’s operations more cost-effective, environmentally responsible, and innovative.


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