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Time for Canadian Manufacturers to Adopt Industry 4.0

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By Elizabeth Consolante - June 13, 2019

The Fourth Industrial Revolution is hitting the manufacturing industry full-fledged and Canadian manufacturers are in an envious position to leverage the opportunities derived by this massive change. Adopting 4.0 technologies goes beyond the Internet of Things as companies are digitizing their entire environment, from physical assets to their ecosystems by fostering relationships with partners along the value chain. PricewaterhouseCoopers' 2016 Global Industry 4.0 survey revealed that an increasing number of companies are putting digital transformation at the core of their business strategy. Within five years, these companies are expected to double their digitization, investing over US$900 billion to do so. There is no doubt that companies must act now, and the must act fast.

Organizations are motivated by a strong desire for a profitable growth as digital technologies have the potential to foster the creation of profitable new products and services. Industry 4.0 technologies offer Canadian manufacturers the opportunity to reach a sustained success without having to compete on costs. The competitive landscape will see itself be completely redefined as manufacturers are putting a large focus on performance. PwC's report states that "one-third of companies in every industrial sector anticipate efficiency gains and cost reductions of 20% or more."


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How can this be done?

  • Investing in smart manufacturing initiatives: combining data with information from the value chain with integrated planning and scheduling
  • Integrated shop floor planning: this will result in better usage of assets and greater product throughput
  • Predictive analysis: Asset uptime will be increased as operators will be better suited to make the most of maintenance scheduling

"Industry 4.0 is also creating significant opportunities to drive revenue growth. In fact, 86% of companies surveyed expect to cut costs and grow revenues through digital over the next five years."


If the benefits are so considerable, then why aren't more organizations already riding the 4.0 wave? One of the biggest challenges faced by manufacturers is fostering a digital structure and providing the appropriate training. Once 4.0 technologies are implemented, the organizational structures, leadership and skills must follow in order to ensure prosperity. Companies will have to nurture the development of in-house skillsets to see their teams in full effervescence.


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"There's no reason why Canadian manufacturers can't exploit the digitization of their industry to become the disruptor rather than the disrupted. But the transformation can't wait. Canadian companies need to start their Industry 4.0 journey now. The window of opportunity is already closing."


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To read more on PwC's Global Industry 4.0 survey report, click here.

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