The Fourth Industrial Revolution is coming and how well companies adopt new technologies will determine their success in what is frequently called Industry 4.0.
In the first Industrial Revolution, machines powered by steam and water had huge change on production methods. In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, computers using machine learning and artificial intelligence will be making decisions without human involvement, completely changing how manufacturing is done.
So what do you need to do to get ready for Industry 4.0?
First of all, if your Wi-Fi doesn’t work well, the network is slow or staff can’t print reliably, you will never be able to implement new technologies.
Too many businesses are stuck dealing with challenges around basic networking and computing and it stops them from moving forward. Some may have dealt with a Ransomware attack or other breach recently. Other businesses may just be dealing with a slow network, lagging applications or computers.
Regardless of the symptoms, if you are sitting around a boardroom table talking about basic technology needs, you will never get to talking about more advanced technological needs, let alone implementing them. You are wasting time on things that should not be happening versus spending that time on process automation, better business intelligence and driving down risk.
Focus on the Little Stuff First
Putting in place a process first that eliminates these basic issues is critical. You will not be able to implement that new ERP system if Outlook keeps freezing or your staff joke about how long it takes to login to their computers in the morning.
The best way to eliminate those issues is through a process of regular review of your technology against best practices. When technology is out of alignment with a best practice, it needs to be fixed otherwise your staff will experience productivity issues or your business will be at risk.
When technology is regularly aligned to best practices (this should happen at least monthly) you start to deal with technology more proactively. Identifying misalignments to best practices leads to strong technology strategy and a continual process of improvement.
Before you know it, you will no longer be spending that time at the boardroom table talking about basic technology issues. You will be ready to start looking at new technologies that are part of Industry 4.0.