Industry 4.0: What It Is and How Outsourcing Plays a Key Role in Manufacturing
Industry 4.0 is history’s fourth industrial revolution — the technological revolution. Smart factories are evolving and will change the face of manufacturing with the use of machines that can communicate with each other to hike productivity and need less human intervention than ever before.
What is Industry 4.0?
There are 6 key areas that a factory system needs to be considered Industry 4.0 and these are:
- Interconnection: Devices, sensors machine and people connect and communicate using IoT (the Internet of Things) and IoP (the Internet of People). In factories the use of sensors can constantly assess safety and potential faults in a production line. IoT can keep supply lines going by automating ordering, monitoring stock levels, track expenses and forecast potential future costs.
- AI and Machine Learning: AI is popular in quality control, reducing the risk of human error. Using cameras to detect defects and finding the cause of problems can happen in seconds using AI technology. Many companies use AI to help with design, looking at costs, methods and materials and running through algorithms to decide what is the best solution. The result is safer, cheaper and more productive processes.
- Information transparency: Operators have all the information they need to make decisions. Operators can collect data and information across all manufacturing processes, identifying areas that will benefit from intervention.
- Technical assistance: Systems that can collect and present information to humans so that problems are identified and solved rapidly. Cyber-physical systems can assist by performing tasks that are difficult or dangerous for human operators.
- Decentralized decision-making: Cyber-physical systems can make decisions autonomously and perform tasks as often as possible.
- Big Data: Using predictive data, IoT, IoP, AI and machine learning are all key drivers behind Industry 4.0. This allows for preventative maintenance schedules, self-monitoring of machines, reduces downtime and makes the workplace safer. In addition, the machines remove the risk of human error when picking up potential problems.
What are the Main Benefits of Industry 4.0?
Improved maintenance, reduced costs — poor maintenance causes downtime and as the technology that can predict this and prevent it becomes cheaper its adoption is increased. Predicting likely machinery failures before they happen keeps plants running and profitable and reduces downtime.
Data drives decision-making: Instead of using instinct new plants use data and make decisions based on the facts. This means that new ways of manufacturing can be developed rapidly.
Where Does Outsourcing Fit In?
Industry 4.0 is currently experiencing a shortage in talent and this will be met via outsourcing as companies look towards hiring specialist workers. In rapidly growing areas like software development outsourcing has also increased. Companies look to reduce costs by investing in Industry 4.0 technology and need to turn to outside professionals who can provide the skills they lack in-house.
Globalization has enabled organizations to access talent on a global scale so they easily find the skills they need outside of national boundaries. Outsourcing is on the rise mainly because of the business understand the multiple benefits of Industry 4.0 and want to invest in making the changes to stay ahead in the market. Outsourcing meets that need.
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