A 4th Industrial Revolution or Media Hype?

Industry commentators have for years rallied around the notion that we are in the early stages of a 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR). This era is typified by the fusion of modern digital technology, such as IoT, robotics and cobotics, augmented reality and virtual reality, and AI, with product design, production, and logistics, and also throughout the life of the product.

The percived benefits in the manufacturing sector include increased efficiencies, better connection with customers through more personalized products, lower environmental impact and continued innovation and services.

However these changes will not occur in isolation, they will need to flow onto other industries such as the benefits seen by use of digitally connecting supply chains end-to-end from raw material to product and then product llifecycle. This connection will not just include machines, but also the behaviours and expectations of the people using the products and also those working in the companies.

The fourth industrial revolution will be just as much about digital technologies changing behaviour of people as it will be about developing and adopting better technologies.

Industry has been slow to adopt.

To date there has been poor levels of digital adoption by manufacturers, particularly by SMEs.

Theer are potentially a number of reasons for this that stand out:

  • Perceived unknown risks with adopting new technologies.
  • Fear of the dire consequences of getting an investment decision wrong
  • Fear of a failed projects impact on their balance sheet
  • Loss of reputation with customers
  • Disruption to day-to-day business.
  • SMEs are very cautious about dealing with new vendors
  • Dont want to buy a solution thats not fit for it’s advertised purpose
  • end solution could be unsuitable or prohibitively costly to implement or own
  • SME’s feel illequipped to properly research potential solutions and discuss implications with vendors
  • Lack of confidence in using the technologies, lack of existing skills within their organization 

The SME senior managers are fully aware they need to change their internal operations and put data at the centre of their business, but it is not always clear how to do this and this acts as a brake on investment.

One interesting project that many manufacturers could contemplate as a way to start that has a positive effect on the business is Quality management. 

Quality 4.0 is a great start for SME’s.

Adopting IIoT4.0 for quality management will lead to a number of measurable benefits:

  • Continual improvement in cost management
  • Winning more new business
  • Satisfy customer requirements more effectively
  • Create a safer, more sustainable and resilient business
  • Show effective governance
  • Work better with the supply chain

The benefits of digital adoption by manufacturers and their QMS is obvious, and Cypernex can simplify adoption and reduce the rate of investment in these technologies by helping automating technology adoption and the need for specialist skills to implement and manage, creating an environment where there is greater trust, confidence, and reduced risk.



  • Riva Collins

    November 9, 2019 - 2:07 am

    Yes quality is a good starting point, thats at least coming with measursbleROI

  • Obila Doe

    November 9, 2019 - 2:08 am

    Starting with Quality control, its so obvious why didnt I think of it, thanks for the idea.

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