When it comes to Manufacturing, the words “Unchanging”, “Slow-moving”, “Manual” and “Mundane” come to mind.
But that’s all about to change.
Enter Industry 4.0, a new wave that’s set to transform the Manufacturing industry globally and locally as we know it.
Building on the widespread adoption of computers and automation, Industry 4.0 incorporates the use of smart and autonomous systems, fueled by data and machine learning. With these ‘Smart Machines’ factories and processes can be trained to accomplish specific tasks, process large amounts of data and recognise patterns.
In a nutshell, what Industry 4.0 promises to bring about is a more efficient, productive and less wasteful way to manufacture.
Now if only it was as easy as that.
At present, the pace of Industry 4.0 adoption is uneven across different industries and companies. It seems there still exists much confusion over how Industry 4.0 can be incorporated, how it can benefit companies, and to some extent what it all even means (SG Smart Readiness Index).
According to Lim Yew Heng, partner and managing director of The Boston Consulting Group, one key challenge facing companies is a lack of knowledge on how to kickstart their digital journey and the steps to take to integrate Industry 4.0 into their operations.
This is hardly surprising given that the changes brought about by Industry 4.0 can seem outsized and intimidating to some.
Yet, companies like Canon aim to prove otherwise by offering business solutions for manufacturers that serve to address existing pain points—in order to help them better transition into Industry 4.0—rather than to upend and replace current processes entirely.
One such example can be seen in their provision of Digital Office solutions that smoothens out the otherwise tedious and time-intensive process of handling Accounts Payables and Receivables.
By providing a Central Storage for the easy search and retrieval of documents, as well as the implementation of Digital Forms and Auto-Matching for quicker referencing and processing, it eliminates the need for companies to rely on manual processes and mountains of paperwork.
These same features also work to minimise the need for multiple documents across different teams, leading to a lower probability of errors and delays when it comes to Shipping & Fulfilling orders.
In most cases, the implementation is seamless and the benefits immediate. This can incentivise companies at all levels to begin transitioning towards Industry 4.0 in a non-intimidating and non-invasive manner.
However, that only solves one part of the problem.
Another challenge—and perhaps the most important one—that manufacturing companies face in integrating digitalisation is ensuring that their employees are receptive and aligned with this vision.
Industry leaders looking to automate and introduce technology replacements may find workers resistant to change over fears that they may lose their jobs to automation.
This is a mindset that needs correcting. Machines and automation should be seen as enablers for people to move towards operational efficiency, giving new life to traditional workflows and empowering the workforce rather than taking away from it.
Canon holds this belief as well.
With Canon’s Intelligent Document Solutions, the typically complex and manual method of Order Processing can be simplified.
The software automatically and intelligently extracts information from paper and digital documents for quick, efficient and compliant business practices.
This data is then automatically populated into a company’s backend system thereby reducing errors and releasing workers from the otherwise mundane and time-consuming task of manual input and freeing them up to focus on higher-order duties.
With Canon taking over the lower-value, effort intensive yet essential tasks, companies can better spend their resources and time on upskilling, retraining and engaging employees in more productive and value-added ways.
Once again, we can see how technology—when utilised correctly—can enhance the workflow and experience of companies and employees alike.
This understanding is key as the goal of Industry 4.0 is not to render us jobless, or complicate the manufacturing process, but rather elevate it to new standards and experiences for the benefit of all.
Only with the right mindsets, assistance and solutions, will be able to see Industry 4.0 through to its full potential.
Don't get left behind! Ride the wave of change and take full advantage of Industry 4.0 with the help of our professional consultants. For more information, talk to us here.