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  • By Mandy Tague
  • In Blog
  • Posted 07/09/2021

Talk of Industry 4.0 is everywhere. If you’re like many companies, you’ve accelerated your Industry 4.0 and digital transformation initiatives over the past few years. In fact, 67% of respondents in the Manufacturer’s 2021 Digital Transformation Assessment reported accelerating their digital projects as a result of Covid-19. 

We’ve found this to be consistent with feedback from our customers as well, and earlier this year, my colleague Oliver Bird discussed the key themes affecting business resilience during his webinar “Strategically Planning For The Future: Developing Resilient, Agile Processes Using Predictive Digital Twins.” The need to build business resiliency and operational efficiency is critical, and the use of predictive simulation and digital twins are one tool that can support you on your digital transformation journey. Below, I’ve outlined 6 steps that will help lead you to Industry 4.0 success.

1. Use Predictive Simulation to Create a Digital Twin

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. Lanner offers flexible solutions for creating predictive simulation models and digital twins of your processes through our flagship software, WITNESS Horizon. Additionally, we have an expert team of simulation consultants available to support you through training and consulting. 

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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. 

For more keys to success, read this recent blog from my colleague John Beadsmoore, “5 Steps to Getting Started with Predictive Simulation.”

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.

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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 its 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.

Are you ready to get started with predictive simulation and digital twins? Contact us today to discuss your challenges and opportunities, and how we can help you achieve better, more confident decision-making.


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