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  • By Mandy Tague
  • In Blog
  • Posted 18/07/2018

Talk of Industry 4.0 is everywhere. If you have questions, concerns or apprehension about how to begin your digital transformation journey and how to be successful, you’re not alone. 75% of respondents in the 2017 Annual Manufacturing Report said they lacked understanding of the implications of Industry 4.0. This uncertainty is cited as one of the main reasons some companies are reluctant to fully commit to progressing on Industry 4.0 initiatives.

Below I've outlined 6 Steps to Industry 4.0 success to keep in mind as you begin your digital transformation journey.

1. Create a Digital Twin 

A digital twin is a replica of your assets or processes. By first truly understanding your current state, you’ll be in a better starting position to ask and then answer the right business questions.


2. Use the Digital Twin to Boost High-Level Management Engagement 

The total transformation that’s behind Industry 4.0 initiatives requires total management buy-in. Key stakeholders should be involved even before the digital twin is created. The visual nature of the twin is a powerful way to help all stakeholders understand the complex dynamics of their end-to-end operations. Early engagement helps reduce the emotion that’s often encountered with major change.

3. Use the Digital Twin to Ask the Right Questions and Set Clear Goals

Management tends to throw resources at a problem during a crisis without a full understanding of the complexity or context of that problem. The digital twin allows for a high-level understanding of how processes behave in different scenarios. This virtual testing ground allows realistic targets to be set from the outset.

4. Test and Prioritize Industry 4.0 Implementation Options 

You are now in a place to focus on the process stages and technologies predicted to deliver maximum business performance impact. You may want to consider building a more detailed digital twin of your processes so that you can test and experiment with different technology investments that you’re considering. This will allow you to proceed to implementation with confidence.


For more, read Lanner Consultant John Beadsmoore's blog:  5 Steps to Getting Started With Predictive Simulation

5. Develop Skills, Acquire Appropriate Technologies and Implement the Technologies 

With your technology investments prioritized, you now must ensure that the appropriate skills and capabilities are in place ahead of implementation. This can be done through either acquisition or training and development. As you move through implementation, the digital twin should be used to track delivered value against the previously set goals and targets. This will keep implementation on track and maximize returns on an ongoing basis.

6. Move from Continuous Improvement to Continuous Innovation

The Industry 4.0 journey has no end given it’s aim of continuously improving operational agility. Traditional continuous improvement techniques are grounded in historical data and traditional process analysis. Instead, businesses need to anticipate tomorrow’s innovative performance differentiators and act before someone else does. This is the age of continuous innovation.

For a more detailed guide, and a discussion on the challenges facing those starting their Industry 4.0 journey, download Lanner's executive briefing paper ‘ Industry 4.0: Using Simulation and the Predictive Digital Twin to Support Successful Digital Transformation' by COO Andrew Aitken. 

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