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Industry 4.0 – dare to trust technology

"Software is eating the world".

This is how tech investor Marc Andreessen expressed himself back in 2011 in the often quoted article "Why software is eating the world." New technology creates drastic changes in all industries, and the manufacturing industry is no exception. Is your business ready for Industry 4.0?

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0, also called the fourth industrial revolution, can be described as a fusion of different technologies that together create new opportunities for digitalization and automation. In the manufacturing industry, this is about more than just automated production – the trend is towards automating and digitalizing all parts of a company. In order to make as large efficiency gains as possible and avoid bottlenecks, it is important that digitalization and automation permeate the entire organization. An important driving force for Industry 4.0 is Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI means that human processes are simulated in machines, especially in computers.

Do we have to adapt to Industry 4.0?

Now you might be thinking: “What’s all the fuss with this new technology about? It’s a bit overhyped isn’t it? Our business is doing well anyway without us digitizing and automating much. ”

The counter argument is Amara's law: "We tend to overestimate the effect of new technology in the short run, while we have a tendency to underestimate the effect of new technology in the long run".

Amara's law was coined by the American researcher Roy Amara in the 70’s and concerns the human view of the future. A common assumption is that the technology develops linearly and at the same rate over time, but the fact is that the rate of technological development increases over time, as new technology matures. Organizations that succeed in using the new technology to run their business faster, better, and cheaper increase their competitiveness and with it, their chances of staying in the game.

Don’t do a Kodak!

A classic example of a company that did not dare to trust the new technology is Kodak. It was not a lack of innovation that became Kodak's case - the fact is that Kodak was first to develop the digital camera, which they also patented in 1975. However, the company chose to invest in analog technology instead of investing more resources in innovation and development of digital photography. Kodak did not want to accept the digitalization of the photo market, and once they realized that the digital camera was here to stay, it was too late. Kodak went bankrupt in 2012, after which there were no more "Kodak moments".

​​​​​Dare to trust technology - you have a lot to gain

Instead of asking yourself if you should dare to trust the new technology, ask yourself if you dare to maintain the status quo and risk being "eaten up"?

The companies that adopt the new technology and dare to think new have a lot to gain.

Some benefits of relying on the new technology, with AI at the forefront:

  • keep your top talents
  • improve the customer experience
  • reduce the risk of costly errors
  • reduce manual and person-dependent processes

Read more about the benefits of AI here and how the technology can be used in your order management, among other things.

You can also read the article Can we really trust AI? where we look at what can be done to increase trust in AI internally.

AI does the hard work – monitored by human

Human-in-the-loop is a common expression in AI which means that a human guides the technology as learning takes place. Humans are responsible for quality control, so even though technology does most of the work, someone is still involved in the process of monitoring and checking that everything is going according to plan. It also means big time savings - you get time to, for example, handle more business critical matters, or provide better customer service. AI can also work 24/7 and take care of orders regularly and consistently. When necessary, a person can be prompted to verify.

How to get started with AI

Getting started with AI does not have to involve sky-high investments in new IT systems. Instead, start with your existing systems and think about how they could work even better with AI. Then try to find an AI solution that can be connected to your existing systems - there are many solutions on the market and the development within AI is fast.

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