How to start Industry 4.0 digital transformation?

11.02.2022 r.

Industry 4.0


Transforming your industry into 4.0

How to start and effectively manage digital transformation into industry 4.0. Using industrial IoT to smarten your business isn’t as hard as it can seem. The key to getting it right is preparation, understanding of your factory needs, and a reliable technological partner.

In the article:

  1. Industry 4.0 – what is it?
  2. What solutions Industry 4.0 can offer you? How IoT can help your factory grow?
  3. How to start industry 4.0 digital transformation in your factory? Where to start your transformation? How to kick it off effectively? What should you know before industrial transformation?
  4. What are the benefits of 4.0 industrial transformation? The advantages of IoT implementation.

1. Industry 4.0 explained

In practice, Industry 4.0 (4IR – The Fourth Industrial Revolution) refers to a digital transformation of manufacturing with the use of smart technologies. This revolution is driven by the immense growth in collected data volume, real-time means to analyze them, artificial intelligence, and connectivity. Although sometimes it can sound unachievable or too advanced, it’s not or rather it doesn’t have to. Each industry can benefit from technological solutions on many levels, from the smallest automation, data collection processes, through different software, hardware integrations, to development of dedicated software.

2. Industry 4.0 technologies and solutions

What can the industrial internet of things actually offer you?

  • Development of embedded software – computing big data and automating processes can serve you in many use cases. There are countless possibilities, i.e.: creating a piece of software that would report within seconds about possible delays based on previously collected data or inform you about occurring malfunctions so you can rapidly take actions.
  • IoT applications – The Internet of things constitutes a vast part of industry 4.0. The IoT term refers to the use of hardware in order to create cyber-physical systems. Devices embedded with sensors and software enable connection and data exchange between other systems via the Internet so you can manage your manufacturing process remotely, thus giving rise to a smart factory.
  • Integrations with biometric solutions – a particular type of integration 4.0 broadly used to increase security in factories, airports or offices. Irreplaceable, efficient and foolproof thanks to accurate face or fingerprints recognition or multimodal biometrics using several sources at once.
  • Supply chains for tracking and monitoring of vehicles, people, animals, devices – you could raise your control over packaging, deliveries or materials handling as well as increase awareness of your workers effectiveness and productivity of your machines. With knowledge and smartly collected data comes a chance to optimize your business and its most crucial processes. Digital technologies can also add up to client’s satisfaction because with data and tracking solutions you can better predict the dates or possible obstacles and pass the information to your customers.
  • Integrations with access control systems – authorized access to spaces with application grants first and foremost security, but also gives you insights on behaviour of the end-users, whether it’s your clients illustrating their preferences or workers completing their tasks.
  • and many more depending on your needs 🙂

If you would like to know what can be done in details, you’re welcome to read our case study:

3. How to prepare for a digital transformation

Start as usual with every change – strategically – by asking crucial questions and answering them. Follow the questions listed below to deepen your understanding of the processes that need transformation the most:

When was the last time I introduced some innovations to the factory (and what were the changes)? What processes would I want to quicken? Is there a way I could perform some actions better? In which aspects I lack data or in what places data could be used more efficiently? Am I in control of what is happening real-time? How much time does it take to register a malfunction after it occurs and what time is needed to repair it? Are there risks I can mitigate? What errors tend to repetitively hinder the output score? What are the main setbacks to production lines or supply chains? Is there a way to overcome them? Are there processes that sink more and more money over the years? What have I tried so far to increase productivity? Has it succeeded or failed and why? Am I using the potential of my employees so they can grow and be satisfied with their work?

You don’t need to know all the answers at once, just ponder a bit on those matters (it would be also advisable to find some objective evidence for your observations) and discuss them with your team. Then, with some ideas on what sectors in your company might benefit from industry 4.0 transformation, consult an experienced software development company so they can explain how new technologies can improve your business (they should honestly tell you what is doable and how to approach the change – don’t fall for promises, ask for the facts – read more about communication as a game changer in search of software development company in our article ➡️

After a consultation, list down your priorities in terms of urgency and importance to your business (tip: rate both urgency and importance on a defined scale).

Preferably, before making a decision whether to kick-off the digital transformation, conduct a SWOT analysis – write down the Strengths, Weaknesses of the proposed solution and think of Opportunities and Threats that await you (also discuss it with an IT project manager). Some companies just skip this part for it can seem trite. However, it raises your awareness and in industry 4.0 strategy, this analysis is priceless as it keeps you on track throughout the process.

Next, plan out the budget (not only the amount, but also whether in this case a fixed price or a T&M – time and materials – model would be suitable), timelines and think about the workflow that would be most comfortable and effective for you (of course, you can establish it all with the software company of your choice, they will surely advise you on the most suitable approach, but give it a thought before setting off for the meeting).

Digital transformation in industry 4.0. How to start digital transformation

4. Benefits of industrial transformation

  • Boost productivity: The industrial IoT enables businesses to automate and enhance operational efficiency. Robotics and automated technology can help companies streamline procedures and increase the output. Your employees can grow and focus on more analytical tasks instead of repetitive and monotonous ones.
  • Minimize errors: The industrial IoT can digitize virtually every process. Automating processes and entries reduces the risk of human error.
  • Planned maintenance: Machine downtime is the most costly for a manufacturing company. What might be causing so many issues that manufacturers can’t work? It’s simple: there’s a lack of preventive maintenance.
  • Boost Safety: The IoT industrial data and sensors can enhance workers’ safety. Smart manufacturing becomes smart security when all sensors monitor workplace and employee safety.
  • Save Money: Manufacturers may use IIoT solutions to cut costs and increase revenue since information is power. Data-driven insights into operations, manufacturing, marketing, and sales may help companies succeed. Implement money security. Impress shareholders by implementing industrial IoT insights.
  • Predictive maintenance: By using operational technology, reduce mistakes, improve machine learning with artificial intelligence, better quality control, and increase efficiency.
  • Remote manufacturing operations monitoring: Available 24/7 from anywhere in the world. This 360-degree perspective of the production process and the follow-up service given to consumers is priceless. Obtain real-time data, data analytics, insights, and more benefits. Security comes to your company with industrial IoT.
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