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Industry 4.0: The Future of Productivity and Growth in Manufacturing Industries (Part 3)

2015-04-16 22:02:14

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The Impact of Industry 4.0

The race to adopt elements of Industry 4.0 is already under way among companies in Europe, the U.S., and Asia.

 

Quantifying the Impact: Germany As an Example

To provide a quantitative understanding of the potential worldwide impact of Industry 4.0, we analyzed the outlook for manufacturing in Germany and found that the fourth wave of technological advancement will bring benefits in four areas:

  • Productivity. During the next five to ten years, Industry 4.0 will be embraced by more companies, boosting productivity across all German manufacturing sectors by €90 billion to €150 billion. Productivity improvements on conversion costs, which exclude the cost of materials, will range from 15 to 25 percent. When the materials costs are factored in, productivity gains of 5 to 8 percent will be achieved. These improvements will vary by industry. Industrial-component manufacturers stand to achieve some of the biggest productivity improvements (20 to 30 percent), for example, and automotive companies can expect increases of 10 to 20 percent. (See Exhibit 3.) 
     
  • Revenue Growth. Industry 4.0 will also drive revenue growth. Manufacturers’ demand for enhanced equipment and new data applications, as well as consumer demand for a wider variety of increasingly customized products, will drive additional revenue growth of about €30 billion a year, or roughly 1 percent of Germany’s GDP. 
     
  • Employment. In our analysis of Industry 4.0’s impact on German manufacturing, we found that the growth it stimulates will lead to a 6 percent increase in employment during the next ten years. (See Exhibit 4.) And demand for employees in the mechanical-engineering sector may rise even more—by as much as 10 percent during the same period. However, different skills will be required. In the short term, the trend toward greater automation will displace some of the often low-skilled laborers who perform simple, repetitive tasks. At the same time, the growing use of software, connectivity, and analytics will increase the demand for employees with competencies in software development and IT technologies, such as mechatronics experts with software skills. (Mechatronics is a field of engineering that comprises multiple engineering disciplines.) This competency transformation is one of the key challenges ahead. 
     
  • Investment. Adapting production processes to incorporate Industry 4.0 will require that German producers invest about €250 billion during the next ten years (about 1 to 1.5 percent of manufacturers’ revenues), we estimate.
exhibit
 
exhibit

The estimated benefits in Germany illustrate the potential impact of Industry 4.0 for manufacturing globally. Industry 4.0 will have a direct effect on producers and their labor force as well as on companies that supply manufacturing systems.

 

Producers

The next wave of manufacturing will affect producers’ entire value chain, from design to after-sales service:

  • Along the value chain, production processes will be optimized through integrated IT systems. As a result, today’s insular manufacturing cells will be replaced by fully automated, integrated production lines. 
     
  • Products, production processes, and production automation will be designed and commissioned virtually in one integrated process and through the collaboration of producers and suppliers. Physical prototypes will be reduced to an absolute minimum. (See “Component Makers Benefit from Greater Flexibility.”)  
     
  • Manufacturing processes will increase in flexibility and allow for the economic production of small lot sizes. Robots, smart machines, and smart products that communicate with one another and make certain autonomous decisions will provide this flexibility. (See “Automobiles and the Next Wave of Automation.”) 
     
  • Manufacturing processes will be enhanced through learning and self-optimizing pieces of equipment that will, for example, adjust their own parameters as they sense certain properties of the unfinished product. 
     
  • Automated logistics, using autonomous vehicles and robots, will adjust automatically to production needs.

Industry 4.0 allows for a faster response to customer needs than is possible today. It improves the flexibility, speed, productivity, and quality of the production process. And it lays the foundation for the adoption of new business models, production processes, and other innovations. This will enable a new level of mass customization as more industrial producers invest in Industry 4.0 technologies to enhance and customize their offerings.

 

Manufacturing-System Suppliers

As manufacturers demand the greater connectivity and interaction of Industry 4.0–capable machines and systems in their factories, manufacturing-system suppliers will have to expand the role of IT in their products. Changes will likely include a greater modularization of functionality with deployments in the cloud and on embedded devices. With increases in the overall functionality and complexity of systems comes the need for a greater distribution of decision making. In addition, online portals for downloading software and collaborative partner relationships may offer more flexible and adaptable equipment configurations. Automation architectures will also evolve for different use cases. Suppliers will have to prepare for these various scenarios and support these shifts.

Industrial-automation vendors and most machine-tool manufacturers have built significant software-development capabilities—but Industry 4.0 will require even more. In addition, these vendors will have to compete with IT players that are moving into the growing market for shop-floor- and production-related applications and data-driven services.

The growing interconnectivity of machines, products, parts, and humans will also require new international standards that define the interaction of these elements in the digital factory of the future. Efforts to develop these standards are in their infancy but are being driven by traditional standardization bodies and emerging consortia. Germany’s Plattform Industrie 4.0 was the first driver, but the U.S.-based Industrial Internet Consortium (IIC)—founded in March 2014 by manufacturing, Internet, IT, and telecommunications companies—has become a prominent alternative. Subsequently, a new body, the Dialogplattform Industrie 4.0, was formed in Germany to counteract the IIC’s strong position. Several other standardization organizations have ambitions in the field. Strategically choosing participation in these and other bodies and actively shaping the standardization agenda will be critical for manufacturing-system suppliers.

Source: BCG