Are You Ready for Industry 4.0?

Posted by John Appel on Wed, Jan 13, 2016

The fourth industrial revolution has arrived. If you’re not prepared to adapt the new industrial environment, you may find yourself way behind your competition.

Didn’t get the memo on Industry 4.0? It’s the latest major iteration in manufacturing’s ongoing cycle of reinventing itself. The first was Industry 1.0, which started in the late 1700s and lasted for nearly 100 years.  During Industry 1.0, engineers, inventors, and other great industrial minds learned how to leverage the power of water and steam to manufacture more products in less time.

Next came Industry 2.0, also commonly referred to as the Industrial Revolution. Industry 2.0 was fueled by the invention and widespread adoption of electricity. Electricity brought assembly lines and expanded work hours, which allowed manufacturers to further increase their output.

In the latter half of the last century, Industry 3.0 marked the arrival of computers into the manufacturing process. Industry 3.0 introduced automation, giving manufacturers the ability to streamline their processes, reduce their labor force, and keep their assembly line moving around the clock.

Today, we’re in the early stages of Industry 4.0. Not sure what Industry 4.0 is? Right now, it’s a blend of a few different components, like big data and analytics, connectivity, and robotics. Combine those things together and you have a powerful force that can drastically transform the way most manufacturers operate.



Imagine a customer buys one of your products at a retailer. As soon as the product is scanned, data is collected and distributed throughout your supply chain. Your retailer knows that it has one less product on the shelf and has new capacity. Your supply chain manager can use that information to package product and distribute it as necessary.

On the manufacturing end, you know in real time which products are selling and from where, so you can shift resources as needed to meet demand. You could fully automate your process by feeding that data directly into your robotic equipment. They could then produce the products in demand, with little direction or input from your labor force.

The implications of Industry 4.0 are massive. The idea of just-in-time inventory has never been this specific. The power of connectivity and data mean that you could virtually eliminate the warehousing of massive quantities of product. Your distributors and retailers can order as needed. Or you can simply fulfill their capacity on an ongoing basis, creating a recurring stream of revenue for yourself.

McKinsey and company recently did a study on Industry 4.0 and its potential impact on a wide range of sectors. They created a list of potential levers that could drive value for businesses, as illustrated in the chart below.the digital compass

As you can see, the possibilities are nearly endless. Data-driven demand prediction. Routing flexibility. Machine flexibility. Predictive maintenance after the sale. Human-robot collaboration. Digital performance management. These will be the tools of the future’s successful manufacturers.

Of course, the process starts with the collection of data. And that data collection begins with packaging.

The package is no longer just a vessel or container for your product. It’s a sensor. It’s an analytical starting point.

To leverage Industry 4.0, you’ll need packaging that can collect and disseminate data throughout your supply chain. At Deufol, we’re on the leading edge of Industry 4.0. From designing and developing operational tools that match production to demand, to performance based data-collecting packaging programs, and even assisting with managing distribution chain, we collaborate with our clients to help them maximize this opportunity.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you leverage Industry 4.0, contact us today. We would welcome the opportunity learn more about your business and help you innovate your way past your competitors.

Topics: Industrial Packaging

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