The Top Six Ways to Start Your Lean Industry 4.0 Implementation

Where Should You Start?

Digital capabilities will be vital to implementing Lean Industry 4.0. Developing them takes time and concentration and a step-by-step approach is important. But you must act quickly so you don’t lose the early adopter advantage to your competitors. We have seen companies drive success through six common points of difference including:

Mapping Out Your Lean Industry 4.0 Strategy – Evaluate your digital tools now versus where you need to be, also evaluate where your people and process need to be as they will be a driver to your success. Set clear targets for achieving these goals. Prioritizing people development & digital tools that will bring the most value to your business and provide a foundation for future digitisation.

mapping a value stream to identify opportunities
Visually mapping your strategy will help you understand where you need to allocate resources.

Leadership needs to be committed to the transformation and understand the benefits and changes which will result from the implementation of a people-centric digital strategy. Just like a Value Stream Mapping session you must include all key stakeholders to best understand how to apply these new technologies and how they will affect your people.

Become a Data Analytics Collaborator – Success with Industry 4.0 depends on your expertise in understanding data & the possibilities to identify important trends. The establishment of cross-functional analytics capabilities between departments will help you drive value for the customer as well as increased agility to market demands.

Collaborating on data between departments and teams is vital.
Collaboration and understanding of data across departments and teams will be essential.

Develop a system where data sharing is front and center, where all your departments share and collaborate on every step of the process. From sales to shipping every process collaborates with each other. The more information you have detailed in a meaningful way, the easier it will be to make calculated business decisions.

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Start with Small Pilot Projects – One thing to remember is not all projects will succeed, but they will all help you learn the approach that works for your business. Small projects help to increase the buy-in from your employees and gives a glimpse at what can be achieved.

For the early pilot projects define a relatively narrow initial scope like adding RFID tags and scanners for monitoring production. Collaborate with digital leaders outside your company’s boundaries; work with start-ups, universities, or industry organizations to accelerate your digital uptake and knowledge.

printing in 3d
Start with a small project like 3D printing rapid prototyping. New products or designs can be created in half the time and with greater precision.

Defining the Capabilities You Need – After you have tested your smaller projects and found what works well in your business it is time to map out the capabilities you wish to implement to achieve your goals. Also include strategies for recruiting and developing the right employees and attracting the right companies to work with. Your success with Industry 4.0 will depend on the skills and knowledge you can deploy. It is important to understand technology and infrastructure at a deep level to be able to understand how it will affect your business, it’s people and it’s processes.

Drone flying above farming fields
Drone technology is opening up new avenues for maintenance, supply chain management and imaging applications.

Transformation Into a Digital Enterprise – Taking your business to its full potential will probably mean major changes to your businesses processes, people and culture. As mentioned before leadership needs to be on-board with clear direction, commitment, and vision to succeed. Fostering a human-centered digital culture where your employees learn, adapt and grow with the technology you are implementing.

You need a team of employees willing to experiment, learn new ways of operating, and adapt everyday processes for the digital age. Your company will need to reinvent its capabilities continually, at faster rates than in the past, to stay ahead of the competition.

Adopt a Holistic Approach – Lean Industry 4.0 brings about the need to develop complete holistic approaches to products and service solutions for your customers. You may sell a product to market currently, but you should be thinking about the services a customer might want after they have bought your product. Customers might want to add on maintenance and servicing to a product, where you can facilitate automated maintenance of the product without the need to speak with the customer.

Build products or services into your products to offer a more holistic service to your customers.
Build products or services into your offerings to provide more value to your customers.

Partnerships are becoming a major avenue for businesses to expand their product offerings by providing your customers access to services and products they may not have thought of before connecting with a mutually beneficial partner. The greatest breakthroughs in performance occur when you actively understand consumer behaviour and can orchestrate a distinctive role for your company within a complex ecosystem of partners, suppliers, and customers.

Getting Started Isn’t As Hard as You Think

Lean Industry 4.0 will create huge advantages for companies that fully understand what it means for their technology & people. Change of this nature will have a lasting effect on your business and should not be taken lightly. Industry 4.0 will bring a massive step-change in efficiency just as the train did replacing the horse and cart. Be sure to have a strategy in place before your competition beats you to it, Contact a TXM Lean Industry 4.0 expert today.

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Timothy McLean

Author: Timothy McLean

Timothy McLean is the Managing Director of TXM Lean Solutions and is an author of Lean books.