Industry 4.0 – What It Is and How Salesforce Is an Integral Part of It All

Industry 4.0 – What It Is and How Salesforce Is an Integral Part of It All
Unless you’ve been keeping tabs with what’s been going on in the manufacturing industry or been curious about how new inventions (products) are solving human problems today, you are likely unaware that the fourth industrial revolution is already upon us. The transition in the digitisation of the manufacturing industry is so compelling that it’s been unanimously called the Industry 4.0. Mechanisation through water and steam power formed the basis of the first industrial revolution. Then came the second, which saw mass production and assembly lines utilising the power of electricity. Adoption of computers and automation all adorned the third industrial revolution. But now, this new level- Industry 4.0, is combining all that was in the third revolution and enhancing it further through smart and autonomous systems powered by machine learning and data. Yet, all this is still just on the surface. So, what exactly does Industry 4.0 mean and what does it entail? Some think it’s just a marketing buzzword, but the shifts happening in the manufacturing industry is worth considering.

What is Industry 4.0?

Dubbed the next revolution in industrialisation, Industry 4.0’s premise has cloud technology as its pivot- where all the processes and computing done by factory machines within their operational environments are imported into the cloud allowing upkeep, workflow and management of individual machines possible remotely. The above is made possible through two concepts: the Internet of things (IoT) and cloud computing. Cloud computing is hosted on the internet, thus allows remote access to services, stored data and apps. Internet of things uses this concept of cloud through cloud computing to store and automate processes and systems in devices or objects that are synchronised to the internet. Examples include internet-enabled automobiles and smart home security or lighting systems. With Industry 4.0, things and processes that were initially managed internally by both machines and people are taken to the cloud, making them controllable remotely from any location through the power of cloud computing and IoT. The fourth industrial revolution has come to challenge the way traditional manufacturing and production systems currently operational in factories function, where both centralised and offline systems are not inter-connected. With Industry 4.0, these factories must aim to transform into ‘smart factories’ with the ability to self-manage issues and internal processes.

A bit of History of 4.0

Industry 4.0 has been slowly seeping into the manufacturing space since 2011. The concept was first coined in Germany during the Hannover Messe- the world’s biggest industrial fair and has since set the wheels rolling, utilising the power of Germany’s engineering and manufacturing prowess. Slowly, it’s taking the rest of the world with it and has the ability to disrupt the manufacturing industry in a manner so powerful than the former three industrial revolutions. As Industry 4.0’s concept continues to find its way into other economies, Germany remains in the lead with more research, search queries and coverage in its sectors.

Industry4.0The Technologies Driving Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is making use of several technologies to achieve its goal. Among them are:
  1. Artificial intelligence (AI)
What do you think powers the autocorrect feature in your smartphone? It’s AI. AI makes computers to think like humans. These computers are able to recognise complex patterns, draw conclusions, process information, and make recommendations. As Industry 4.0 matures in an everyday reality across the globe, AI will be one of the technologies to watch out for.
  1. Virtual Reality (VR)
Using a VR headset, VR offers immersive digital experiences able to simulate the real world, while augmented reality provides the ability to merge the digital and physical worlds together. A good example is L’Oréal’s makeup app or the Google Translate phone app. This technology will facilitate the specialised aspects of the production line in many industries.
  1. Robotics
While robotic assistants are yet to be seen in every home, complex and sophisticated robots are already in industries aiding manufacturing, health and safety and for humanitarian assistance in controlled applications. Robots will be one of the critical drivers of Industry 4.0, and we can only wait to see even more fascinating inventions and application of robots in more than manufacturing.
  1. Internet of Things (IoT)
IoT makes use of cloud computing to store data, automate systems and process in devices that are connected to the internet, making them identifiable by other devices for control and management. IoT has found its way into many processes in the production and manufacturing processes and has transformed the systems immensely.
  1. Cloud Computing
Cloud computing refers to the ability to share IT resources, data, services, applications etc. through a cloud services platform via the internet, eliminating the need for physical presence to access data and other services. Cloud computing is an integral part of Industry 4.0 given the power it offers and the flexibility of accessing data and services remotely. Other technologies driving the revolution include:
  • Big data and predictive analytics
  • Automation of company processes
  • Machine Learning
  • New computational technologies are making computers smarter
  • Blockchain
  • Biotechnology
  • Chatbots
  • Voice-activated personal assistants
  • Additive manufacturing (3D printing)
The application of these technologies in the manufacturing process or in business operations is making the shift to Industry 4.0, a reality that we are already witnessing all around us. And because manufacturing processes are increasingly becoming automated in the Industry 4.0 era, salesforce is now a critical and indispensable technology that manufacturing businesses looking to streamline business must adopt moving forward. With the capability of salesforce to cover all communication channels and points of contact between vendors, marketing, service agents and customers, and being a high-value CRM that it is, salesforce will be a critical integration of smart manufacturing in the Fourth Industrial Revolution era.

Why is Salesforce Ideal for Smart Manufacturing in the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

For businesses ready to adopt the paradigm shift brought about by the arrival of smart manufacturing environments through Industry 4.0, salesforce CRM is posed to be an integral part of any company’s digital transformation strategy, including all other business activities. Here is part of the solutions presented by salesforce for the smart manufacturing era.
  1. Managing Sales with Sales Cloud and Einstein Analytics
Information is vital in any sales cycle. Salesforce through its sales cloud feature allows sales teams gather useful information that enables them to make critical decisions in the sales process and ecosystem, right from the first phase of the sales cycle to the last point of customer’s involvement as well as the creation of a lead. The AI integrated into salesforce allows it to generate automated forecasts useful in business decisions.
  1. Develop a Multichannel Client Service Solution with Service Cloud
Most customer services are always non-revenue generating departments. Salesforces Service Platform now makes it possible to transform your customer service into a revenue-generating wing of your business by granting agents and technicians access to up-to-date and simplified yet comprehensive client information. This is all made possible through the integration of IoT into salesforce’s IoT cloud.
  1. Salesforce offers a Unique Customer Experience with Marketing Cloud
If anything is imperative in smart manufacturing, then it has to be a data-driven customer journey. Salesforce, through its innovative marketing cloud, offers the capability to track all your customer journeys, collecting all of the information relevant to your goals for efficient and fruitful communication.
  1. Salesforce gives the capability to Manage Relationships with Community Cloud
The ability to remotely access your critical business data from any location makes a business really effortless. With the salesforce community cloud, this is now a practical possibility. You can remotely update and share contacts (including opportunities) between your sales team and other partners.

In the end

Industry 4.0 is here, and it cannot be dismissed as just another marketing buzzword. There’s a lot of transformation going in the manufacturing industry, and we see serious automation of critical processes in the production line, the inclusion of big data and analysis guiding decision making and even more etc. To enhance the transformation, critical aspects of the business are captured and executed in CRMs, and salesforce is making the shift even more enjoyable with unique solutions aimed at facilitating business. If you are looking for a salesforce consultant to guide your business on how to get ready for the industry 4.0 and beyond, get in touch with us.