Executive Briefings

U.S. Manufacturers Too Slow to Adopt Industry 4.0

U.S. manufacturers recognize the potential of the digital technologies known collectively as Industry 4.0 to create value, but they are largely approaching the opportunity in piecemeal fashion and may miss out on the significant business benefits these technologies offer, according to new research from the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Nearly 90 percent of manufacturing leaders surveyed by BCG regarded adopting Industry 4.0 technologies as a way to improve productivity, but only about one in four see opportunities to use these advances to build new revenue streams. Many are pursuing isolated initiatives scattered throughout the company, BCG found in its new report, "Sprinting to Value in Industry 4.0," without a clear vision and coordination from the top.

The stakes are high, BCG stresses, as the value created by Industry 4.0 vastly exceeds the low-single-digit cost savings that many manufacturers are currently pursuing. "In an era of stagnating productivity, Industry 4.0 stands out as a means of generating significant productivity gains," says Justin Rose, a BCG partner and a coauthor of the report. "The real value is achieved when manufacturers maximize the impact of these advances by combining them in a comprehensive program."

To succeed, companies must set ambitious goals and capture value rapidly over the course of a multiyear transformation. "Our findings point to the need for U.S. manufacturers to gain a deeper understanding of how they can apply Industry 4.0 and accelerate the pace of adoption," says Vlad Lukic, a BCG partner and report coauthor. "The winners will approach the race to Industry 4.0 as a series of sprints but manage their program as a marathon."

To gain insights about the status of Industry 4.0 adoption by U.S. manufacturers and the challenges they face, BCG surveyed 380 U.S.-based manufacturing executives and managers at companies representing a wide range of sizes in various industries.

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Nearly 90 percent of manufacturing leaders surveyed by BCG regarded adopting Industry 4.0 technologies as a way to improve productivity, but only about one in four see opportunities to use these advances to build new revenue streams. Many are pursuing isolated initiatives scattered throughout the company, BCG found in its new report, "Sprinting to Value in Industry 4.0," without a clear vision and coordination from the top.

The stakes are high, BCG stresses, as the value created by Industry 4.0 vastly exceeds the low-single-digit cost savings that many manufacturers are currently pursuing. "In an era of stagnating productivity, Industry 4.0 stands out as a means of generating significant productivity gains," says Justin Rose, a BCG partner and a coauthor of the report. "The real value is achieved when manufacturers maximize the impact of these advances by combining them in a comprehensive program."

To succeed, companies must set ambitious goals and capture value rapidly over the course of a multiyear transformation. "Our findings point to the need for U.S. manufacturers to gain a deeper understanding of how they can apply Industry 4.0 and accelerate the pace of adoption," says Vlad Lukic, a BCG partner and report coauthor. "The winners will approach the race to Industry 4.0 as a series of sprints but manage their program as a marathon."

To gain insights about the status of Industry 4.0 adoption by U.S. manufacturers and the challenges they face, BCG surveyed 380 U.S.-based manufacturing executives and managers at companies representing a wide range of sizes in various industries.

Read Full Article