How to convince your top team that Industry 4.0 will pay

How to convince your top team that Industry 4.0 will pay

Are sceptical leaders holding back your digital strategy? It’s time to empower decision making & show them the value

The biggest challenge of industrial digitalisation isn’t technology, it’s people. Before IoT, advanced analytics or augmented reality can fulfil their potential, they need buy-in from across the organisation.

Unlike previous approaches to process improvement, the biggest barriers aren’t at the front line. Your operations personnel, technicians and maintenance teams can see how digital ways of working will make their roles more effective, more productive and more enjoyable.

Instead, the problems can arise higher up the chain. Sometimes, senior managers struggle to see the benefits of new approaches, while obsessing about costs and risks.

How can you bring them round? A strong business case is one thing, but there’s nothing more compelling than seeing the benefits at first hand.

And with most Industry 4.0 use-cases, that’s surprisingly easy to do. Adding new digital value to existing processes doesn’t require big investments in new equipment, expensive software development or disruptive changes to critical processes.

That’s because most companies already have the data they need. It’s being collected today by your existing assets and workflows. And thanks to modern cloud-based platforms, such as PTC’s ThingWorx, turning that data into new value is something that can be often done in a matter of weeks.

When you are trying to overcome organisational inertia, the trick is to pick pilot projects that are visible, compelling and scalable.

Where would you find such projects in your organisation? Here are a few good places to look:

  • Addressing stubborn pain points where legacy solutions have failed. Do you have bad actors among your assets that are a consistent source of unplanned downtime or quality issues? They might be candidates for smart remote monitoring or predictive analytics.

  • Mitigating key health & safety. Do your people need to conduct complex maintenance tasks in potentially hazardous environments? Handheld devices and augmented reality solutions could help to ensure compliance with safe working practices.

  • Boosting energy efficiency. Excess energy consumption is a significant source of waste of in many industrial settings. Digital approaches can make hidden losses visible, and help you manage the trade-offs between process performance and efficiency.

  • Delighting your customers. Even simple digital tools can offer significant additional value to customers in surprising ways. That might come from real time updates on the progress of their order through production, shorter service lead times or extra customisation opportunities.

Wherever your opportunities are, choose one and challenge yourself to fix it in three months using a smart digital approach. It’s not unusual for projects like that to pay for themselves many times over, and when your leaders see what Industry 4.0 can do, their increased confidence and enthusiasm for new approaches can be invaluable.

Are you interested in demonstrating real business value from Industry 4.0 in your organisation? For more information about the points discussed in this article get in touch with our Capula Futures team.

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