Survey Sees 4th Industrial Revolution Moving From Buzz to Reality

Survey Sees 4th Industrial Revolution Moving From Buzz to Reality

The popular saying holds that the future is here just unevenly distributed. According to a survey released by PWC and The Manufacturing Institute, that thought is certainly true about the Fourth Industrial Revolution (which PwC labels 4IR but many others label Industry 4.0). This research confirms my observations that many manufacturers have projects at a variety of stages, while many others have adopted a wait-and-see attitude.

The report notes that fourth industrial revolution has been met with both enthusiasm and fence-sitting. While sentiments and experiences have been mixed, most business leaders are now approaching 4IR with a sense of measured optimism. Indeed, larger systemic changes are underway, including building pervasive digital operations that connect assets, developing connected products and managing new, real-time digital ties to customers via those products.

While manufacturers recognize the potential value of advanced technologies and digital innovation—particularly robotics, the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), cloud computing, advanced analytics, 3D printing, and virtual and augmented reality—they are still deliberating how and where to invest and balancing the hype with their own level of preparedness. Meanwhile, they’re also well aware of the significant changes 4IR will bring to a new manufacturing workforce—that is, one that is increasingly symbiotic and increasingly beneficial for many workers and manufacturers alike.

This narrative is reflected in a new survey of US-based manufacturers carried out by PwC and The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce and thought leadership arm of the National Association of Manufacturers. We see a definitive—and, indeed, inevitable—shift to 4IR as companies seek to integrate new technologies into their operations, supply chain, and product portfolio. At the same time, they acknowledge that scaling, justifying 4IR investments, and dealing with uncertainty surrounding use cases and applications usher in a new set of challenges.

Some key survey findings include:
• While the sector as a whole is making assertive forays into 4IR, many manufacturers still inhabit the awareness and pilot phases. Nearly half of manufacturers surveyed reported that they are in the early stages of a smart factory transition (awareness, experimental, and early adoption phases).
• Manufacturers do expect the transition to accelerate in the coming years—73% are planning to increase their investment in smart factory technology over the next year.
• While we see a number of fence-sitters, the bulk of manufacturers are indeed prioritizing 4IR, the digital ecosystem, and emerging technologies. 31% report that adopting an IoT strategy in their operations is “extremely critical” while 40% report that it’s “moderately critical.”
• About 70% of manufacturers say the biggest impacts of robotics on the workforce in the next five years will be an increased need for talent to manage in a more automated, flexible production environment and the opening of new jobs to engineer robotics and their operating systems.

…While adopters have identified clear signs of success. Though most manufacturers are still climbing the 4IR adoption curve—albeit at different speeds—those that have made progress are reporting a modicum of performance boosts measured by productivity gains, reduced labor costs, new revenue streams from IoT-connected products and services, as well as improved workforce retention and worker safety. Those that have effectively defined their use cases with a focus on outcomes rather than technology are seeing early wins, and are looking for ways to generate even more value.

The Takeaway
Manufacturers are seeking to balance 4IR hype and reality. And most acknowledge that sitting back and waiting for the inevitable may not be an option.

The road may be longer than the hype would have companies believe, but preparing for and embracing change is a muscle many of today’s manufacturers are ready to flex. Those that can build on their ad hoc pilots and prioritize investments and strategies with their long-term desired business outcomes will be better positioned to create lasting value for their organization.

Europe, Asia Lead the Way to the Factories of the Future

Europe, Asia Lead the Way to the Factories of the Future

Which companies are leading us into the Fourth Industrial Revolution? The World Economic Forum has completed a study and named nine of the best factories in the world—certainly an audacious task. Dubbed “lighthouses”, they were selected from a survey of over 1,000 manufacturing sites based on a successful track record of implementing technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Three of the nine “lighthouse” sites are in China, five are in Europe and one is in the United States.

The aim of this effort is to build a network of “manufacturing lighthouses” to address problems confronting industries in both advanced and emerging economies when it comes to investing in advanced technologies. Earlier work by the Forum identified that over 70% of businesses investing in technologies such as big data analytics, artificial intelligence, or 3D printing do not take the projects beyond pilot phase due to unsuccessful implementation strategies. To aid the learning and adoption of technologies by other companies, all nine lighthouses in the network have agreed to open their doors and share their knowledge with other manufacturing businesses.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution is expected to deliver productivity gains amounting to more than 3.7 trillion USD. But we are still at the beginning of the journey” said Helena Leurent, Head of the Shaping the Future of Production System Initiative and Member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum. “Our efforts to create a learning platform with the lighthouses as the cornerstone are part of the giant leap needed to capture the benefits for the larger manufacturing ecosystem including multinationals, SMEs, start-ups, government and academia”.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution is real. Workers and management equally get augmented with technology. These pioneers have created factories that have 20-50% higher performance and create a competitive edge,” said Enno de Boer, Partner and Global Head of Manufacturing at McKinsey & Company, which collaborated with the Forum on the project. “They have agile teams with domain, analytics, IoT and software development expertise that are rapidly innovating on the shop floor. They have deployed a common data/IoT platform and have up to 15 use cases in action. They are thinking “scale”, acting “agile” and resetting the benchmark.”

The nine “lighthouses” have comprehensively deployed a wide range of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies and use cases at scale while keeping humans at the heart of innovation. One example from each of the sites is highlighted below:

  • Bayer Biopharmaceutical (Garbagnate, Italy): ‘Using data as an asset’- While most companies use less than 1% of the data they generate, Bayer’s massive data lake has led to a 25% reduction in maintenance costs and 30-40% gains in operational efficiency
  • Bosch Automotive (Wuxi, China): ‘Supporting output increase’ – By using advanced data analytics to deeply understand and eliminate output losses, simulate and optimize process settings, and predict machine interruptions before they occur
  • Haier (Qingdao, China): ‘User-centric mass customization model’ – Artificial Intelligence led transformations include an ‘order-to-make’ mass customization platform and a remote AI supported, central intelligent service cloud platform to predict maintenance needs before they happen
  • Johnson & Johnson Depuy Synthes (Cork, Ireland): ‘Process-driven digital twinning’ – This factory used the internet of things to make old machines talk to one other, resulting in 10% lower operating costs and a 5% reduction in machine downtime
  • Phoenix Contact (Bad Pyrmont and Blomberg, Germany): ‘Customer-driven digital twinning’ – By creating digital copies of each customer’s specifications, production time for repairs or replacements has been cut by 30% Procter & Gamble (Rakona, Czech Republic): ‘Production agility’ – A click of a button is all it takes production lines in this factory to instantly change the product being manufactured, which has reduced costs by 20% and increased output by 160%
  • Schneider Electric (Vaudreuil, France): ‘Factory integration’ – Sharing knowledge and best practices across sites has helped this company make sure all its factory sites enjoy the highest energy and operational efficiencies, reducing energy costs by 10% and maintenance costs by 30%
  • Siemens Industrial Automation Products (Chengdu, China): ‘3D simulated production line optimization’ – Using 3D simulation, augmented reality and other techniques to perfect the design and operations of its factory, employees helped increase output by 300% and reduced cycle time
  • UPS Fast Radius (Chicago, USA): ‘Balancing capacity with customer demand’ – Meeting increasing consumer demand for fast-turnaround customized products has been made possible through a combination of globally distributed 3D printing centres with real-time manufacturing analytics

The World Economic Forum, committed to improving the state of the world, is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation. The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

ABB Industrial Technology Meets The Cloud With Salesforce

ABB Industrial Technology Meets The Cloud With Salesforce

Dreamforce, the Salesforce annual customer conference, was this week in San Francisco. I should have been there. Along with 100,000 of my closest IT friends. But, my project hit a crisis and I didn’t travel. All is not lost, however, since I received this information about ABB and Salesforce partnering.

The first item of interest is that I went to Salesforce’s “small” summer conference in Chicago with 3x-5x the attendees of a typical industrial technology conference. Then there is the big one with 30x or more the size. It blows the mind.

Then I consider the strategic moves that the largest industrial players are making. Siemens nailed a couple of acquisitions to bolster its MindSphere IoT platform. Schneider takes a majority stake in AVEVA to integrate design to process. ABB aligns with Salesforce (see below). And Rockwell Automation spends major dollars for a small stake in PTC evidently for a tighter integration with ThingWorx and Kepware.

Although there was a lot of marketing buzz to sort through, what ABB gets with a partnership with Salesforce is substantial. The company under the leadership of Ulrich Spiesshofer for the past five years has staged a remarkable turnaround. Don’t forget it also bolstered its machine control / discrete manufacturing portfolio with the acquisition of B+R Automation.

You can see more by watching this Fireside Chat with ABB CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer and Salesforce chairman and co-CEO Marc Benioff on the future of work and Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The stated objective of the partnership is for Salesforce to provide a single view of customers across ABB’s global sales, service and marketing operations.

The partnership will combine the power of Salesforce IoT, Einstein artificial intelligence, and ABB Ability, the cross-industry digital offering supporting an installed base of 70 million connected devices worldwide, to drive enhanced service and faster solutions for customers

Explaining Industry 4.0, otherwise known as The Fourth Industrial Revolution, Salesforce states it is a wave of innovation and technology that is radically transforming every business and industry. It’s no longer enough for manufacturers to differentiate on product—they must also predict customer needs and deliver smarter, more personalized customer experiences. With Salesforce, ABB is unifying its CRM globally, across every region, brand and department, to embrace the opportunities created by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and help its customers pursue important, new openings for service, innovation and growth.

“The Fourth Industrial Revolution is creating massive opportunities for our customers, making the work we do with them to drive innovation and create value more important than ever,” said Ulrich Spiesshofer, CEO of ABB. “That’s why we’re growing our relationship with Salesforce. The wealth of information we’ll get by unifying our data on Salesforce and combining it with our ABB Ability digital offering will allow us to use artificial intelligence and IoT more effectively, so we can anticipate our customer’s needs and write the future together.”

“ABB is undergoing incredible digital transformation and connecting with their customers in revolutionary ways,” said Marc Benioff, Chairman and co-CEO of Salesforce. “Our relationship with ABB is another example of the extraordinary power of artificial intelligence and IoT technologies to drive customer success.”

ABB’s expansion of Salesforce includes Einstein, Salesforce IoT, Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Community Cloud and Success Cloud advisory services.

Einstein will enable ABB to drive smarter sales and service with artificial intelligence. For example, ABB will use Sales Cloud Einstein for intelligence-driven decision making, automated data entry, identification of potential opportunities and predictive forecasting. Einstein Vision, used with Service Cloud Field Service Lightning, will be used to give ABB’s 15,000 field service technicians the ability to take a photo of an ABB product or component when they arrive onsite to automatically surface information about the product on their screens, resulting in faster, more accurate service.

Salesforce IoT will allow ABB to make data from its connected devices actionable and measurable. The company’s vision is to combine Salesforce IoT with ABB Ability so that its installed base of 70 million connected devices can use predictive intelligence, powered by Einstein, to generate and trigger actions directly into Salesforce. With Salesforce IoT and ABB Ability together, ABB will be able to improve customer experiences by getting ahead of performance and maintenance needs.

Industry Reference Architectures Coming Together

Industry Reference Architectures Coming Together

Industrial Internet and Industry 4.0Interoperability among systems spurs economic and technological growth. Two of the leading proponents of new strategies for this next Industrial Revolution that we are beginning recently met.

Representatives of Plattform Industrie 4.0 and the Industrial Internet Consortium met in Zurich, Switzerland to explore the potential alignment of their two architecture efforts – respectively, the Reference Architecture Model for Industrie 4.0 (RAMI4.0) and the Industrial Internet Reference Architecture (IIRA).

The meeting was a success, with a common recognition of the complementary nature of the two models, an initial draft mapping showing the direct relationships between elements of the models, and a clear roadmap to ensure future interoperability. Additional possible topics included collaboration in the areas of IIC Testbeds and I4.0 Test Facility Infrastructures, as well as standardization, architectures & business outcomes in the Industrial Internet.

The Zurich meeting was originally proposed by Bosch and SAP as members of the steering committees of both organizations. The meeting constituted an informal group which will continue their work on exploring potential alignment between I4.0 and IIC.

The open, informal discovery group included Bosch, Cisco, IIC, Pepperl + Fuchs, SAP, Siemens, Steinbeis Institute and ThingsWise.

Every press release these days, especially when it is an association of many members, includes the requisite quotes. Below are thoughts from some of the leaders.

Industry Reference Architecture Thought Leaders

State Secretary, Matthias Machnig, Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy: “We welcome the cooperation of both initiatives as an important milestone in the cooperation of companies internationally. The combined strengths of both IIC and Plattform Industrie 4.0 will substantially help to pave the way for a mutually beneficial development of a digitized economy for our international businesses.”

Prof. Dr. Siegfried Russwurm, Technical Director of Plattform Industrie 4.0, CTO and Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG, said “Collaborating with other initiatives is important, especially for Germany’s export-oriented economy. We are highly interested to cooperate intensively with others in order to pave the way for global standards. Cooperating with IIC – and with other consortia – is an important step in the right direction”

Dr. Richard Mark Soley, Executive Director of the Industrial Internet Consortium, commented, “The effort shows that smart technical people can bridge any gap and find a way to solve problems that might otherwise have created barriers to entry in the adoption of IoT technology for industrial applications. I applaud the participants and thank them for their initial work, and look forward to a successful collaboration moving forward.”

Dr. Werner Struth, member of the Bosch board of management: “This is a huge accomplishment for industry adoption of the Industrial Internet of Things, as it will simplify technology choices immensely and lead to greatly enhanced interoperability.”

Bernd Leukert, Member of the SAP Executive Board emphasizes the importance of alignment between IIC and Plattform Industrie 4.0-initiated testbed initiatives: “This will allow for a much smoother international cooperation between smaller companies and larger enterprise to test out use cases and to initiate standards.”

Greg Petroff, Chief Experience Officer for GE Digital, said: “Breaking down the barriers of technology silos and supporting better integration of these architectures efforts will be key to advancing the Industrial Internet. This collaboration will help build a vibrant, united community around standards that drive integration toward solving the world’s toughest challenges.”

Robert Martin, Senior Principal Engineer in Cyber Security Partnership, The MITRE Corporation and member of the IIC Steering Committee, said “Bringing together the work of the Industrial Internet Consortium and the Plattform Industrie 4.0 Konsortium will dramatically increase the international value of both efforts and help to clarify and resolve the problems and concerns facing the global Industrial IoT marketplace quicker and more effectively than either could do alone.”

“I’m excited to see the two premier Industrial Internet of Things organizations aligning their efforts,” states Stan Schneider, CEO of Real-Time Innovations (RTI) and a member of the IIC Steering Committee. “Industrie 4.0’s strong foundation in industrial manufacturing and process combines well with the IIC’s emphasis on emerging IIoT applications in healthcare, transportation, power, and smart cities. We are working aggressively to align the connectivity infrastructures of the underlying DDS and OPC UA connectivity standards. We look forward to driving the rapid growth of the IIoT across all industries.”

Survey Sees 4th Industrial Revolution Moving From Buzz to Reality

World Economic Forum Discovers Manufacturing Strategy

Industry 4.0 and Industrial Internet of Things describe manufacturing strategy as much as technology. But as I occasionally write here and write daily on my spiritual practices blog, there is a people side to all this technology and strategy.

Technologists (most people reading this site) tend to talk technology. Then they get carried away and think that technology will replace all need for people. Hence the science fiction writing and movies on that theme.

Arianna Huffington (the Huffington Post) attended the recent gathering of the world’s elite in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum. She discovered manufacturing and Industry 4.0. But she wrote a book on the power of getting enough sleep for your essential health. She managed to weave a story from both threads.

Manufacturing strategy

She writes:

The dominant topic of discussion this year — both inside the talks and panels and outside, as well — was transition. Klaus Schwab, the Forum’s founder and executive chairman, captured this sense — the possibilities as well as the challenges — with this year’s theme, the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Schwab describes this new period as “the fusion of technologies across the physical, digital and biological worlds which is creating entirely new capabilities and dramatic impacts on political, social and economic systems.” It’s an era of automation, constant connectivity, and accelerated change, in which the Internet of Things meets the Smart Factory.

Yes, this new manufacturing strategy, which I must say seems to focus on what we call discrete manufacturing (think autos, airplanes), seeks to go deeper in employing digital technologies. In many ways it is following the lead of process industries (they hate the word manufacturing even though that is a government classification) which always seems to lead in applying math and rigor to its processes.

She continues, quoting Mark Benioff of Salesforce about people and technology:

If the Fourth Industrial Revolution will be defined by speed, connectivity, and change, there’s also a need for a countervailing force. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff said, “Speed is the new currency of business.” But as he also said, the Fourth Industrial Revolution begins with trust, which has been at the heart of business as long as business has existed — and will only become more important in our more transparent ever-faster-moving world. Benioff’s point exemplified a larger truth of this year’s Forum, that far from being add-ons, a focus on trust, transparency, purpose, and a deeper kind of connection are central to meaningful success in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

I’ve been writing about trust and transparency on my other blog this week. Sometimes we forget basic human values in our pursuit of either technology or profits.

Oh, yes, and she adds that we all need enough sleep each night to perform at our peak. You can go buy her book–or sleep on it.