Industry 4.0 : the urgency to act

The digital transformation toward Industry 4.0 offers Canadian companies the best chance to remain competitive and relevant in the years to come.  The bottom line?  Accessibility to all information representing the evolution of the state of the company to accelerate or automate decision-making in order to synchronize operations and optimize performance.  “Knowledge is power”… do better.

The investment.  To benefit from this 4.0 strategy, competitors around the world will invest more than US$900 billion each year in the digitisation of their entire business.  Supply chains will be transformed and companies without the necessary digital capabilities will be unable to participate, let alone compete.

Characterized by data valuation, decision-making and operational process automation, the intelligent plant requires the integration of new technologies, and then greater connectivity of data and objects. Process automation is an important step in making a plant intelligent, but to be fully 4.0, a factory must first and foremost be interconnected: machines must talk to each other and adjust in real time to supply and demand.

If business leaders are still reluctant to take the 4.0 turn, it is because they still have many concerns about the path to follow, the investments required and the skills needed.  However, the transformation cannot wait.  Canadian companies must begin their digital transition now and be supported to facilitate this transformation.


Late Quebec
Over the past year and a half, Québec has made significant progress thanks to the innovative manufacturing policy articulated by Investissement Québec.  Despite everything, the Quebec industry is lagging behind (as is Canada).  According to the study Le manufacturier avancé: enquête sur l’automatisation du secteur manufacturier au Québec, published in 2017 by the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance, 75% of German companies have automated their processes, compared to 55% of American companies and only 25% of Quebec companies.
Smart factories can be found in all industrialized countries – even China is making rapid progress.  On the other hand, specialists say that the Germans are clearly one step ahead. “German manufacturing companies are the most modernized,” says Pierre Gabriel Côté, CEO of Investissement Québec (IQ). As a result, German companies are more innovative and efficient.   They also produce higher quality products at lower cost and are able to bring them to market more quickly.

The Quebec industry will have no choice but to adapt quickly, says Martin Dupont, Executive Director of the Société de développement économique de Drummondville.  “Manufacturing companies that will not become 4.0 are destined to disappear,” says this economic development specialist.

Canadian companies have a significant competitive advantage in many parts of the world.  Canada has an abundance of talent, essential to the success of Industry 4.0: software engineers, computer scientists, data analysts, etc., and schools continue to provide a steady flow of this talent every year.


Industry 4.0: Total digitization
The Industry 4.0 revolution goes far beyond concepts such as the industrial Internet of Things and the digital factory.  The PwC 2016 survey, Global Industry 4.0, reveals that more and more industrial companies around the world are putting the digital transformation of Industry 4.0 at the heart of their business strategy.  Globally, these companies plan to double their average level of digitization within five years, from 33% to 72% per year to do so.  The message of this study is clear: the time for discussion is over; the time for action and investment is now.

In all sectors examined, from aerospace to logistics to agriculture, companies expect to become much more efficient and achieve significant cost reductions through massive investments to better benefit from the digital opportunity.   They forecast that efficiency will increase by an average of 4.1% per year until 2020 and costs will decrease by an average of 3.6%, or US$493 billion per year over the same period.  Surprisingly, one-third of companies in all industrial sectors expect efficiency gains and cost reductions of 20% or more.

What about you? How is your company doing? What are you waiting for to take the step? Our team of experts can help you succeed in your digital transformation, contact us.


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