Case Studies and Questions for Week 12

Case Studies and Questions for Week 12

Case studies and Questions for Week 12 – suggested answers


4th industrial revolution white paper

  • what does Interoperability mean?
    • A trait by which systems integrate, interconnect and exchange information. It has benefits such as reductions of costs, errors while increase of productivity and efficiency.
  • What are the challenges in the Industry 4.0? Make recommendations for the future
    • Trying to compete at a global level, rapid technological changes, environmental policies and regulations, training, controlling and monitoring, customer demand, quality improvement while also trying to implement the right technology and provide the right solution is a big challenge. The implementation of this new paradigm represents a huge change for companies, which are faced with big investments. In order to benefit from the opportunities offered by the smart revolution, companies must have the prerequisites needed to withstand changes generated by “smart” system. In addition, new workers who face the world of work 4.0 must have new skills in automation, digitization, and information technology, without forgetting soft skills.  It is important to understand issues are scalability and security as well. The Fourth Industrial Revolution offers businesses huge opportunities for efficiencies and for insight – but it also creates new competitors, threatens old established modes of operation, and creates new risks to security and reputation.
    • Page 13 on the case has a few recommendations. Some further points: Operational disruptions, could be prevented assessing the current operational state of your network and take the appropriate steps to fix any existing anomalies. The next step is to implement continuous monitoring of your network to catch the early indicators of threats to operational continuity. Ensure communication and visibility as well as constant monitoring and standardization.
  • Define digital transformation and explain how important is it to be integrated with strategy?
    • the digitisation of both internal and outward-facing processes via technology, which help a business improve operations and combat the growing threat of disruption. It is changing how a business interacts with customers and employees using technology; and also using technology to significantly improve internal processes, by making them more efficient.
    • The way digital transformation companies are structured today is that you have either strategy consultants or IT execution shops. Digital is a space where if strategy and execution are not integrated, not connected, then the chances of execution failure are very high. Being able to bridge the two worlds of business and digital technology is essential, and is becoming a requisite of upper management roles. A deep understanding of the customer, what they need now and what they will need in the future is the most important starting point in understanding how to lead digital transformation. That in turn can lead to success and competitive advantage.
  • How does 4th Industrial revolution affects supply chain?
    • A digital supply chain canhelp a company strengthen its market position, collaborate better with partners, suppliers and stakeholders in general, while exchanging accurate up to date information using ERP software and make more well informed decisions.


  • What are Smart Manufacturing, Smart Warehousing and Smart Supply? Make recommendations for future trends
    • Smart manufacturing is a subset of Industry 4.0 and includes the usage of the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), real-time data analytics, and sensors-based monitoring.
      • Example applications include: 1. Additive manufacturing for rapid prototyping and customized mass production 2. AR to increase operational efficiency through AR-based manual assembly guidance, asset diagnostics for technicians, and training 3. Collaborative Robots (cobots), which are robots that can work safely alongside humans to increase productivity and reduce repetitive tasks 4. Code-free logic configuration to increase scalability and speed up deployment 5. Digital twins for real-world simulation and modelling 6. Edge computing to process data closer to where it originates and is needed 7. Predictive maintenance which uses IIoT sensors and predictive analytics to analyse data anomalies, decreasing downtime and increasing Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE)
    • Smart Warehousing
      • Smart warehousing is still in its nascency but gaining traction. Smart warehousing strategies focus on implementing operational technologies to augment labour force productivity and/or the efficiency of the warehouse facility overall. Smart warehousing includes IIoT-enabled inventory management, RTLS, and Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs) that can navigate and move without external guidance.
    • Smart Supply
      • Traditional supply chains are increasingly becoming intelligent with more objects embedded with sensors and better communication, intelligent decision making and automation capabilities, the new smart supply chain presents unprecedented opportunities for achieving cost reduction and enhancing efficiency improvement. The advanced supply chain will transform traditional system into intelligent system to enhance work efficiency and productivity using advanced technology and modelling. Interoperability, visibility, and sustainability are critical objectives in smart supply chain.
    • Recommendations
      • In the future, factories and warehouses will have an increasing number of connections. Better Reliability and Performance, Enhanced Flexibility, Asset Tracking (It means knowing the location of tools when and where they are needed; minimizing unnecessary inventory; maximizing turns; reducing human error; and keeping workers safe)
      • Predictive Maintenance: One of the main goals in manufacturing is to maximize production efficiency. It is not productive to send a technician to tend to a machine that does not need tending, nor is it efficient if a machine goes down because it has not received the attention it requires. So maintenance is performed proactively, on a just-in-time basis.
      • Digital Twins: Digital twins are used everywhere from Computer-Aided Design (CAD) to production planning (Computer-Aided Manufacturing (CAM) and virtual commissioning), and even modelling the plant itself. But to have a true digital twin means getting as close to a real-time model or representation as possible and doing that requires not only a digital platform, but also connectivity.
      • Human-Robot Work Flow Integration: Universal Robots did not think that the automotive industry would adapt to cobots

Overall Impact of connected Industry 4.0 – Operational Cost Savings ROI: Gross Profit Lift, Percentage COI Impact: Clearly manufacturers and warehouse operators will need to perform in-depth financial and logistical assessments but there is an opportunity cost to inertia.

  • How can Innovation and Industry 4.0 enhance sustainability and promote LEAN strategy?
    • Nowadays, Lean Manufacturing, Industry 4.0, and Sustainability are important concerns for the companies and in a general way for the society, principally, the influence of the two production philosophies, Lean Manufacturing and Industry 4.0, in the three main pillars of sustainability: economic, environmental, and social
    • Lean Strategy targets the elimination of wasteful activities involved in the value system and is supported by a set of well-known tools to operationalize its goals, either at a strategic level or at an operational level, and the basis of the philosophy considers the human being as an important issue in all its decisions. The Industry 4.0 is starting to revolutionize communities requiring a significant upgrade not just in terms of technology. With the advent of exponential technology and high speed and big data processing capabilities, high levels of digitalization regarding all kind of processes in companies are also required. These processes have to become supported by appropriate infrastructures, such as: IoT, IIoT, RFID, CFS, and Cloud etc. Companies that have adopted Lean Strategy to improve their results also want to be seen as socially responsible. Sustainability is considered the new frontier. Productivity and cost-saving are necessary for the economic survival of organizations. However, these tasks should be achieved in a sustainable way, by mitigating negative environmental and social impacts and contributing to a sustainable society.
    • It is expected that I4.0 will drive companies, for instance industrial ones, to more favourable economic situations, though massive savings to be reached by reducing operators or man power, by saving energy, and by doing work effectively and efficiently, and by reducing production time and improving productivity, among other beneficial situations. In terms of environmental impact, I4.0 may have impacts in reduction of industrial waste, energy consumption of non renewable energy sources, increased practice of circular economy, etc. In terms of social sustainability although there are conflicting opinions there might be some positive impact from the improved working conditions, more training, less accidents, etc. The Fourth Industrial Revolution challenges companies to be leaner, faster, and operate at a lower cost.


  • How is Operations Management becoming more strategic in the 4th Industrial revolution?
    • Hayes and Wheelwright have identified decades ago the link of making operations management and strategic thinking in successful businesses and they established that with experience and success these two worlds should be in agreement and communication. In this is the era of creative convergence, where technologies begin to connect it becomes even more imperative to get a strategic operations managements philosophy in order to benefit from the opportunities risen while dealing more efficiently if not proactively with the implications incurred too. Organizations need a new vision and operating model that leverages all of these new technologies; real value can only be delivered when these technologies are used together. Fourth Revolution technologies create opportunities to redefine costs and reinvest for the future. Businesses need to use savings to enhance customer experience, deliver large-scale transformation and reinvest for the future.
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