Most manufacturers are just now setting off on their explorations of Industry 4.0. The definition of the word Explore is “to travel in or through an unfamiliar area in order to learn about or familiarize oneself with it.” In my role as the marketing leader for QAD’s Industrial and High Tech verticals, I have the opportunity to discuss the future of manufacturing with a number of our customers. These are exciting times in terms of both technological advancement and clarity around the potential for a new world order in manufacturing.
The Nature of Exploration
I am clearly not competition for the History Channel, but I do think that there are interesting analogies between the era of the great explorers and the current state of the manufacturing landscape. When Christopher Columbus set out on his exploration voyage in 1492 his goal was to find a passage to the riches of the Far East. His goals were lofty, his plans were flawed and he had trouble showing the ROI to get the funding that he needed. He famously miscalculated the earth’s circumference and of course was caught by surprise by the land masses of the American continents. The voyage was long. It had its share of setbacks. There were long periods without feedback to his principals, and to be honest, there were many at home that had doubts about whether he would make it back at all. Ultimately Mr. Columbus returned with the treasures of an entirely new world that — although not perfectly aligned with his original goals — provided unprecedented returns.
Exploring the New Manufacturing Landscape: Industry 4.0
I think that the current efforts around Industry 4.0 share some of the same characteristics of the early explorers. Many have started the journey with faith that great results may be possible, and because the journey has not been tried before, the plans are a little fuzzy and no doubt have some flaws. Investment in the exploration has been inconsistent and sometimes based on leaps of faith. There will be surprises and setbacks along the way but none that can’t be survived. Although there may be some in the organization that feel like these early Industry 4.0 explorers might not make it back. I do think one of the main analogies is reflected in that we are just now getting a trickling of news coming back from these early explorations. Manufacturers have taken small steps and learning to explore the possibilities. The “New World” is showing promise and worth further investment and investigation.
Meet With Fellow Explorers and Share Insights
To me this is the very core of the QAD Explore experience. It’s the ultimate opportunity to meet with our fellow explorers and share insights into what is being done in the future. The Industrial and High Tech session that I will be leading is all about Industry 4.0, gaining a better understanding and how to get started toward its promise. I know that the exploration has just begun, and lift my glass to my fellow voyagers on the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria of manufacturing.
This year at Explore, I’ll be participating in the following sessions:
- Industrial and High Tech Kickoff Session
- IoT, MES and QAD
And don’t forget to look into the crystal ball with QAD’s premier guest keynote speaker and futurist, Ray Kurzweil.
Register Before March 31 and Save with the Early Bird Discount
Save $600 by registering for Explore before the March 31 deadline.