What is Industry 4?

The term Industry 4 originates from the high-tech strategy of the German government, which sought to re-define the role of manufacturing post the global economic crisis. It suggests that we are on the cusp of the 4th Industrial Revolution, a cyber physical age, which will be realised over the next 20 years. It is an age in which materials and machines are inter-connected within the internet of things (IoT), where everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data. This will enable highly flexible, individualised and resource friendly mass production. It is driven by a requirement for shorter time to market, increased flexibility and greater asset efficiency.

More fundamentally it will create new business models that will drive both evolutionary and revolutionary changes to the way in which we do business today. Businesses cannot afford to stand-still. Based on research at WMG, the University of Warwick, in conjunction with our industrial collaborators Crimson & Co and Pinsent Masons, an Industry 4 readiness assessment tool has been developed. Its purpose is to provide a simple and intuitive way for companies to start to assess their readiness and future ambition to harness the potential of the cyber-physical age.

The readiness assessment tool

The readiness assessment tool is comprehensive in its nature. It looks beyond the technology to consider 6 core dimensions, with 37 sub-dimensions of industry 4 readiness. The core dimensions include:

  • Products and services
  • Manufacturing and operations
  • Strategy and organisation
  • Supply chain
  • Business model
  • Legal considerations

Drawing on expertise in developing supply chain maturity assessment tools, the assessment is designed around four readiness levels (beginner, intermediate, experienced and expert). They have explicit statements of what needs to be achieved to reach that particular level of readiness for each sub-dimension.

The tool is structured around each of the 6 core dimensions. For each dimension, there is a detailed breakdown of the relevant sub-dimensions and descriptions for the associated maturity levels. By selecting the descriptor that best describes your company’s current level of readiness, you can start to build a picture of your company’s current Industry 4 readiness. This can be repeated to reflect your company’s 5-year ambition, and the gaps between current and future ambition identified. It serves as a basis for enriching and expanding the discussion to help ensure that businesses are proactively harnessing the opportunities that the cyber-physical age presents.

Personalised Industry 4 report

This tool has been designed to enable you to create a personalised report of your company’s current Industry 4 readiness and 5-year ambition, whilst providing a comparison to the average Industry 4 readiness of participating companies.