The term Industry 4 originates from the high-tech strategy of the German government, which sought to re-define the role of manufacturing post the global economic crisis. It suggests that we are on the cusp of the 4th Industrial Revolution, a cyber physical age, which will be realised over the next 20 years.
WMG Professor Jan Godsell defines it as:
“It is an age in which materials and machines are inter-connected within the internet of things (IoT), where everyday objects have network connectivity, allowing them to send and receive data. This will enable highly flexible, individualised and resource friendly mass production. It is driven by a requirement for shorter time to market, increased flexibility and greater asset efficiency. More fundamentally it will create new business models that will drive both evolutionary and revolutionary changes to the way in which we do business today. Businesses cannot afford to stand-still. “
The report and tool has been designed to enable companies to create an assessment of their Industry 4 readiness and benchmark that readiness across a group of 53 companies. It provides an evidence base for companies to start or broaden the conversation, by helping to identify the gaps between current performance and future ambition.
Cerys Wyn Davies of Pinsent Masons, Partner at Pinsent Masons and one of the authors of the report, said the study highlighted key legal issues relating to industry 4.0 that businesses are grappling with, notably in relation to contracting.
"Industry 4.0 requires businesses to collaborate with others to get the most value from the projects they are involved in. In this respect, there is a need for businesses to explore new contracting models where the risks in projects are shared among the multiple parties and where the parties are incentivised to work towards the common goal. Traditional linear contracts are unsuitable for the Industry 4 age."
The assessment tool provides a simple and intuitive way for companies to start to assess their readiness and future ambition to harness the potential of the new cyber-physical age. Tata Steel has been closely involved in its development:
Deirdre Fox Director Strategic Business Development at Tata Steel said:
“The Industry 4 concept has already had a profound impact on the actions we at Tata Steel have taken to shape, not only our own business, but our relationships with our customers and suppliers throughout the supply chain.”
“The WMG readiness assessment tool provides us with an approach to both explore the Industry 4 concept and challenge preconceptions surrounding it, empowering us to take a fresh look at future business strategy.”
For more information and to view the full report, please visit: www.warwick.ac.uk/scip/industry4report