Among participants in the Roadmap 2.0 workshops, two of the top technology trends between now and 2030 were Cloud Computing and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). Thanks to the technologies’ increasing scope, deployment and sophistication, advanced artificial intelligence will be used more broadly in the coming decade. That’s because, through the ability to scale the associated enormous computing power, resources can be applied to address challenges that were previously impossible to calculate. Such interconnectedness makes subsequent decision-making faster and easier.
It’s a theme explored in Roadmap 2.0’s Technology section, starting on page 17. It’s also one that Markus Lorenz, Partner and Managing Director of The Boston Consulting Group’s industrial goods and operations practices in Munich, Germany, addressed during his ProMat 2017 keynote presentation and in an article in MHI Solutions Magazine.
Lorenz, considers the cyber-physical systems of IIoT and Cloud Computing as foundational to Industry 4.0, which he defines as the trend toward greater interconnectivity between automated equipment through data exchange to support intelligent, autonomous decision-making. He says together the technologies will reduce cost within supply chains.
“Industry 4.0 will make supply chains cheaper by boosting productivity from 10 to 15%; faster by cutting throughput time from weeks to days; and better with a 10% reduction in error rates,” he says. “In an Industry 4.0-enabled supply chain, it will be possible to collect and analyze data across all machines, yielding faster processes that are more flexible, more efficient and produce higher-quality goods at reduced costs.”
Based on the information exchanged by interconnected systems within a supply chain’s discrete components—manufacturing plants, distribution centers, storage facilities—Lorenz notes that the right materials can be anticipated, located and delivered precisely when needed for production.
“In our research, we’ve determined that an increased investment of 35% to adopt such technologies will produce as much as 50% cost savings in material transport, and 30% savings in labor, operating costs and overhead over five to 10 years. Further, cycle times will be reduced by as much as 30%,” he concludes. “Ultimately, Industry 4.0 allows for supply chains to provide a faster response to customer needs than is possible today.”
Read more of Lorenz’ insights into Cloud Computing, IIoT and Industry 4.0, here.