We're in the 4th industrial revolution, and digital technology is allowing businesses to scale. Pierre Cléroux, of the BDC, released a report titled “The 4th industrial revolution is here. Are you ready?” highlighting the benefits of technology adoption. Business owners across the country were interviewed to determine how the digital landscape is improving the bottom line. Scott Hudson was featured in the report and explained the key drawback of sticking with traditional manufacturing and production methods.
“If you’re dependent on manual, traditional ways of doing things, you can’t scale your business,” says Scott Hudson, President and CEO of Superior Cabinets.
The Infancy of Digital Technology Adoption in Canada
According to Pierre Cléroux, of the BDC, Ontario manufacturing is in the early stages of digital technology adoption.
- 39% of small and medium-sized Canadian manufacturing firms have implemented Industry 4.0 projects.
- Canadian manufacturers have invested $261k in digital technology over the last two years, according to BDC Report, “The 4th industrial revolution is here. Are you ready?” (see References List below) but investments, in general, are on the low side.
- 63% of manufacturers invested less than $100k, while 5% invested over $1 million.
Updating systems, retraining employees or onboarding new ones, and putting forth the personnel and capital required for a digital upgrade can all seem daunting. There may also be resistance to deviating from “the way it’s always been done” from the veterans in the industry. But there are significant benefits to implementing digital technology, not least of which is the positive impact to your bottom line.
The Bottom Line Benefits of Digital Technology Adoption
Manufacturers who adopted digital technology saw a:
- 60% boost in productivity
- 50% reduction in operating costs
- 42% better product quality
In addition, digital automation will provide a 3.6% cost reduction over the following five years. The advancements in smart manufacturing and digitally interconnected plants have allowed for maintenance to shift from responsive to preventative, digitization has improved supply chain management, and general plant safety has increased.
The opportunities for technology to positively affect your business are numerous, and it’s just the beginning. Technology will inevitably improve, processes will become more efficient, and if you invest early, you’ll be able to reap the rewards sooner.
An Added Benefit for a Digitally Native Workforce
Millennials and Generation Z are the first digital natives - they’ve grown up with technology, the internet, and social media, and know no different. These generations expect to (and want to) use technology as a part of their jobs.
As the Baby Boomer generation retires over the next few years, there will be substantial workforce gaps to fill in manufacturing. In addition, who you will attract with a high-tech, interconnected plant can be added motivation to integrate Industry 4.0 digital technology.
Potential new hires who are well-versed in technology and expect the same at their jobs are more likely to be attracted to a cutting-edge facility than one that is yet to adopt digital technology. These projects present an all-around win for your company: increased product quality, decreased costs, modernized processes, and an environment that will attract tomorrow’s workforce.
Industry 4.0 Can Benefit the Future of Manufacturing
Industry 4.0 is here, and Canadian manufacturers that are investing in digital technology are reaping the rewards. On top of the financial benefits of digitization, you’ll be creating an atmosphere to attract bright young talented individuals who will thrive in a cutting-edge facility.
To learn more about how to invest in the future of manufacturing: