Are you ready for Industry 4.0?
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Industry 4.0 (I4.0) is the key: how many times have we been told that, when talking about the future of economy but also of society, education and governance? I4.0 is going to change not only the products and services that will be produced and offered in the future, but also our way of working and living and it will do so at extraordinary speed. The question is: are we ready for this revolution?
That’s what Deloitte researchers have asked to 1.600 C-level executives in a recent global survey, and the answer can be summarized in “yes…and no.” The research focused on four major areas: social impact, strategy, technology and talent and the workforce, and in all of them a tension between positive and negative (or hope and ambiguity/opportunity and threat) was discovered.
In the area of social impact, most of the executives believe not only that I4.0 is going to have a deep positive impact on society in terms of fostering equality and stability and but also that in order to have success in the I4.0 environment, enterprises will have to include the social dimension into their business and contribute to drive transformative and positive change into society. However, very few of them are already doing so and really believe that their organisation can positively influence societal key factors.
As for strategy, though many of them acknowledge that they may not be that ready to face the challenges of I4.0 and to effectively drive their organisation through this change, most of them are still not taking any steps to change their strategic priorities in order to be readier but are still focusing on traditional business operations and approaches.
If we talk about talent and workforce, another contradiction emerges from the executives’ answers: starting form the fact that all of them consider that the workforce will play a crucial role when trying to tackle I4.0 changes, the majority of executives think that their workforce does not have the right composition and skills to do so but – at the same time – they also acknowledge that talent and human resources are at the very bottom of their priorities.
Finally, executives are all perfectly aware of the need to invest a lot in technology to successfully navigate through I4.0 changes. However, only few of them are indeed investing in advanced technology: the majority are not doing it either because of lack of internal strategic alignment or because of short-term based focus (instead of long-term) or both.
To conclude, though it seems that we have to be ready because our lives could drastically change tomorrow because of I4.0, those who should drive this change are still trying to figure out themselves where we are going and how. However, maybe this is the message to get form this survey: we will never be ready for a “revolution” but certainly we can improve those skills that we’ll help us accept and own the change, such as adaptability, problem-solving, and creativity and many more.
Reference: “The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here – are you ready?”, Punit Renjen, 22 January 2018, Deloitte Review, issue 22. https://www2.deloitte.com/insights/us/en/deloitte-review/issue-22/industry-4-0-technology-manufacturing-revolution.html