Industry 4.0: How can small manufacturers avoid falling behind?
As a follow up to our recent post on Industrial Revolution and the History of Statistics, we wanted to answer the question, “How can small manufacturers keep up with Industry 4.0?” Industry 4.0 technology is exponentially evolving so here are some tips to avoid falling behind.
Just-in-Time Local Support
First, small manufacturers need to leverage the help that is already available. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) oversees state-level Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) offices across the country. The local MEP can help identify and fill gaps in a small manufacturers’ skills and technology. Visit https://www.nist.gov/mep to find the MEP office in your region.
Make the Right Connections
Industry 4.0 technologies are cutting-edge. From engineering departments at big state-run universities to technology centers at local community colleges, all academic institutions are compelled to stay on top of the latest innovations. These institutions often offer free or low-cost access to informational materials and demonstration equipment. For example, Penn State University New Kensington Nextovation program is developing a model for revitalization of a rust belt community by focusing on development of Industry 4.0 skills.
Adopt New Technologies
Most importantly, small manufacturers will benefit from making connections with industry experts and using tools specifically designed with the small manufacturer in mind. It is important to realize that adopting new technology does not mean starting from scratch with significant investments in technology hardware and new personnel. Starting with a small improvement such as moving from data collection on paper to digital is a great first step. Industry 4.0 is attainable for all small manufacturers. Those manufacturers who are proactive and adopt these new technologies now have the opportunity to separate themselves from the competition and improve their bottom line.
Hear It Today!
Listen to Argolytics founder, Tamela Serensits, talk about Industry 4.0 and how small manufacturers can avoid falling behind with Pittsburgh Technology Council TechVibe Radio host Jonathan Kersting.