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Digital Transformation: The Promise of Industry 4.0 Remains Out of Reach - That’s About to Change

Digital Transformation: The Promise of Industry 4.0 Remains Out of Reach - That’s About to Change

MW Presentation 31:50 Minutes

by John Dyck, CESMII

The 3rd Industrial Revolution (1970 – 2010) was characterized by the advent of electronics and information technology that enabled the automation of production facilities at a scale that was unprecedented. This paved the way for a wave of productivity that played a significant role in the growth of our economy over that timeframe and created an entire ecosystem of manufacturing automation/IT vendors, implementers, and practitioners to bring these innovative new capabilities into production. But as with all eras, this one too has reached its plateau, and the implications for our manufacturing competitiveness are significant. 

It is well understood that manufacturing productivity and innovation has been a significant source of growth and prosperity here in the U.S. Yet as we see here, the past decade has revealed an unprecedented flattening, and even decline in our manufacturing productivity (by the worker). The reasons why are complex, but among others, it’s clear that the flattening value/productivity curve of Industry 3.0 has not yet made way for the promised value/productivity curve of Industry 4.0. 

The 4th Industrial Revolution has been hailed by many as the silver bullet that will usher in this new era of productivity and value creation. While in principle, this is a reachable premise, what gets lost in translation is that the transition of the manufacturing ecosystem from one era to the next has historically been disruptive and messy. Old behaviors and business models must make way for new behaviors and business models, and those that refuse to make that transition will be remembered on the “ash heap of history.” 

Takeaways: 

  • Today we live in a world of Industry 3.0 technologies and techniques, and Industry 4.0 technologies have not delivered the same gains in productivity as in the past 
  • CESMII has identified the solution for unlocking the benefits of Industry 4.0 for automation as a whole; large, but especially small and medium enterprises 
  • The solution can only come from a U.S.A. government-sponsored non-profit organization tasked with delivering innovation at scale, the democratization of Smart Manufacturing
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