5 reasons why you're not adopting Industry 4.0

The technology leap that has occurred in recent years is set to transform the UK's factories, increasing productivity and giving the sector and economy a boost. And yet, manufacturers, particularly SMEs, seem to be slow on the uptake.

Industry 4.0 has been widely reported and celebrated across news reports, trade articles and exhibitions, but the focus has often been on the high-end tech, such as robotics, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality. Industry 4.0 can seem daunting, expensive and possibly irrelevant to SMEs, as larger organisations take centre stage; being more likely to deploy relevant Industry 4.0 technologies. Although interesting to SMEs, they do not see it as being a part of their immediate future or within reach and so enthusiasm declines; focus is returned to the task-in-hand, after all, they have always managed without it.

Historically, the limiting factors for SMEs adopting new technologies, such as cost and maintenance has held them back. However, the technologies that are emerging, can be viable for small and medium manufacturers. 

So what is holding manufacturers back?

Industry 4.0 fatigue, perhaps?

The repeated rhetoric of 'Industry 4.0', 'The 4th Industrial Revolution', 'Big Data', 'Data Analytics', 'IIoT', 'Connected Value Chain', can all be a little exhausting if the benefits to you are not clear. Some vendors have certainly been guilty of talking up the technology without understanding the operational benefits and ROI of these disruptive technologies.

Is the perceived scale of change required just too overwhelming?

Some manufacturers may feel their operations are not big enough to adapt, others feel the pace of change is too fast and anticipate large capital expenditure for which budgets do not exist. SMEs may not even have the physical space for automation, so they feel that they can't adopt connected technologies.

The reasons as to why new technologies are not being adopted could be far and wide; we have picked a handful of common issues that in our experience, and according to research, may be standing in the way of manufacturers making the most of the new technologies and developing their Manufacturing Transformation Strategy.

Each blog focusses on a separate issue and what can be done to overcome any challenges or fears about the brave new world of manufacturing. The blogs are currently featuring on the Yorkshire Insider website; as they are published we will post the links here:

5 reasons why you're not adopting Industry 4.0

  1. The Skills Shortage

Is the skills shortage slowing down Industrial Internet of Things adoption in the UK manufacturing sector? Paulo Nobre of Cimlogic explains further.

The connection between skills and economic success is detailed in the Government’s Industrial Strategy, which summaries two main outcomes of the strategy; to improve living standards and increase national productivity. Making progress towards these outcomes requires effective investment and action on the skills shortage from the Government, educational establishments and from all sectors within manufacturing. However, in recent years, manufacturers have failed to invest in skills, creating more low paid jobs. Do manufacturers now fear that they do not have the skills in-house to cope with new technology?

  1. Cyber Security

Security concerns have heightened since the high profile, disruptive cyber-attacks on NHS hospitals, pharmacies and GP surgeries in the UK. Cyber-attacks are inevitably on the rise, and due to a lack of investment in Cyber Security the manufacturing industry are now amongst the key targets, second only to healthcare.

As industrial technology advances, manufacturers are utilising cloud services, data analytics and mobile connectivity more to improve their infrastructure. On the flip side, this means more opportunity for cyber criminals to strike. Are some manufacturers so worried about cyber security, that this is causing a significant barrier to IIoT adoption?

Are growing cyber security concerns prohibiting IIoT adoption in the UK manufacturing sector? Chris Borrowdale of Cimlogic lends his expertise.