The era of the smart factory is here, changing how the traditional factory has functioned for decades. Although it doesn’t require the best or new technology to be smart, factories need a level of digital connectivity and scalability in order to make strides towards digital transformation. The reality of the smart factory within Industry 4.0 and digital manufacturing is to make traditional technology work alongside new technology.
In order to succeed, manufacturers must have a roadmap to envisage the full connectivity of their factories. Below are a list of things to consider for manufacturers to smoothly adapt to the smart factory future.
- Be business focused
Manufacturers should want to adapt to smart factories to achieve better business results and secure their place in the future. Businesses must keep in mind that data is the pivotal in the success of a business, and smart factories must utilize real-time data to provide full transparency.
The accumulation of valuable data will allow manufacturers to identify and address quality control and respond quickly to customer needs. It will also allow manufacturers to respond and adapt to new demands, ahead of time.
- Attention to people and partnerships
Despite the focus on automation and robotics within Industry 4.0, people will still be essential for smart factories. Manufacturers must focus on training and reskilling their employees to adapt to the changes of digital manufacturing. Consulting should also take place for manufacturers, seeking technology partnerships to better realize the business benefits of Industry 4.0.
Investment into smart factories must be manageable. There must be a possibility to grow and adapt with the future needs of the smart factory. Start small and focus on your main needs first. Once the solution is found, scale that factor to different areas of the business.
- Combining physical and digital technologies
Rather than updating outdated machinery – replace them. Internet of Things (IoT) is imperative to the smart factory, from sensor systems to tracking. Manufacturers should shift their data onto the cloud infrastructure, securing their data, minimizing cost and maximizing efficiency.