Time to Accelerate in the Race Toward Industry 4.0

Time to Accelerate in the Race Toward Industry 4.0

          
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Time to Accelerate in the Race Toward Industry 4.0

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    Throughout the world, companies recognize that their success depends on adopting the new digital industrial technologies that are collectively known as Industry 4.0. To assess how quickly this fourth wave of technological advances is gaining momentum, The Boston Consulting Group recently studied the status of adoption in Germany and the US.

    BCG’s study focused on a survey of more than 600 managers and senior executives representing 312 German and 315 US companies. (See “About the Survey.”) We found that, so far, companies in the two countries have implemented Industry 4.0 technologies at approximately the same pace. However, German companies appear to be better prepared to implement these advances in the coming years, and they have higher ambitions, which could give them an edge as adoption proceeds. Overall, companies see the lack of qualified employees as their biggest challenge in implementing Industry 4.0. Data security and the significant investments required for new digital technologies also ranked as major challenges, although the survey found notable differences between German and US companies.

    ABOUT THE SURVEY

    In March 2016, BCG conducted an online survey of companies and their progress toward Industry 4.0. The survey’s participants included executives and operations management personnel of 312 German and 315 US companies with revenues of more than $50 million. The survey’s goals were to evaluate the extent of companies’ progress in implementing Industry 4.0, understand what their management considers to be the major challenges, and identify how implementation could be more efficient. The survey also covered the implications of Industry 4.0 for employee qualifications and the investments required for introducing new Industry 4.0 technologies.

    Our study demonstrates that companies in two leading industrial nations have set high ambitions for Industry 4.0 but will need to accelerate their efforts to implement these technological advances and achieve their goals.

    In this report, we present the survey’s key findings and share related insights from BCG’s analysis of the effects of Industry 4.0 on the manufacturing workforce. We also discuss how BCG supports companies’ efforts to implement Industry 4.0 through its Innovation Center for Operations (ICO), which includes model factories that allow companies’ executives and staff to experience and test new technologies.

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