We talk a lot about industry 4.0 today, but what is industry 4.0? A more automated industry? More connected? More integrated? I would say: all this together, and yes, it is a whole new world.
What is Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 or the Fourth Industrial Revolution is a global concept, created in Germany to initiate a new era in the production of goods, which encompasses technologies for automation and data exchange, uses new concepts in the manufacturing processes that include cyber-physical systems (CPS), internet of things (IoT), industrial internet of things (IIOT), cloud computing, cognitive computing, and artificial intelligence.
Industry 4.0 is the continuation of the industrial revolution of our history, in the 17th century in England we had the 1st that introduced machines in the factory reducing manual labor, between 1870 and 1914 came the 2nd revolution with the inclusion of mass production created by Henry Ford and the 3rd revolution, also called the digital revolution, appeared between 1950 and 1970, and in this, we have evolved a lot in production technology and we see a lot of it until today in most of our factories.
For these new concepts to work well, there is no other way than technology; a lot of technology. Technologies that allow new ways of selling, new ways of buying, and new ways of producing. Technology that helps make the right product and reach the right customer at the right time with the lowest possible cost.
For many companies, this is still a big challenge. We have global industries that already count on a large technology stack (like the automotive industry or electronics industry), where – with a little customization – they can become a 4.0 industry. But for the vast majority of industries around the world, this is still not a reality. For these industries to enter the 4.0 world, they need flexible technologies. They need to be able to add their old legacy systems to the modern world of APIs and the small application messages.
The Shift to Industry 4.0
This is where modern B2B technologies like EDI, e-commerce, e-procurement, and others, present themselves. With them, you connect old systems with little-known formats – even through files – to modern systems, robots, cloud systems, apps, and more. This means there’s no need to replace old systems with new and expensive ones. And yet, with low investment, this opens new horizons for companies. This includes multi-channel sales through the web, apps, store pick-up, or even delivering in your car trunk, which prepares them to serve any customer in the globalized world.
Once an industry can modernize its applications and processes, another phase begins. They’ll need to share strategic and confidential information within the supply chain in an automated and controlled way. In this ecosystem, a customer and a supplier can work on their technical specifications, catalog, prices, and contracts easily and transparently. Again, technology making a difference here through content management tools, where teams can work on complex documents simultaneously, and without wasting time. And this works wherever these people are, whether in Brazil, China, or Alaska.
Is your company ready for Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0 is here. It is a reality. Companies that do not adapt to this new world will stay behind, either due to the lack of agility in serving their customers or due to its higher cost. Your competitor is no longer in the city next door or the next state; it may be in the next country over. Who knows? It may even be on another continent.
APIs and B2B integration: the next wave.