Industry 4.0 is a revolution in the workplace and in the way people employed in industry think. People adapt easily and work is just another part of their lives. People have their goals, limitations, prejudices, and fears. For management level employees, the introduction of process automation means cost reduction; for operators and technicians – it is the spectre of dismissal. On the other hand, implementation of solutions that facilitate work is the prospect of a peaceful sleep for technical service employees. For company managers, however, it means the risk of unreasonable costs without a guarantee of returns. This divergence of objectives can be a factor that inhibits innovation. Therefore, it becomes important to understand these goals and take them into account in the implementation planning process. Even the best technology can turn out to be useless if it encounters resistance from its users.

A large responsibility in the area of education and awareness-raising rests with universities, technology providers and digital transformation leaders employed in enterprises. Who to employ, what technology to use should be subjected to a detailed analysis and it should be assessed carefully whether the resources and means used will contribute to the achievement of goals. The multitude of conditions specific to a given plant or industry makes it difficult to quantify the benefits of using a given solution. In reality, it is difficult to find universal measures applicable in all conditions, so the potential benefits and risks of implementing any solutions should be carefully analysed for each individual case.

It is education then which is a determining factor for the success of the implementation of Industry 4.0 tools. That is why what is being implemented as part of the IE3 project is so important. The cooperation of technical universities with industrial partners will lead to the preparation of a good charter for the changes taking place in the modern world and in the near future.

Planning the implementation of Industry 4.0 solutions should be started with listening to the voice of the crew, so it is good when this crew is has good knowledge of this area. This will allow to determine the actual needs of the plant and select areas with high potential for optimization, while considering the capabilities of the existing infrastructure. It is easier to avoid resistance from employees when the implemented solutions are not felt as imposed from above and unnecessary. Convincing the undecided and arousing a shared sense of the appropriateness of the actions is not easy, but it is one of the important aspects of the fourth industrial revolution. After all, it is the employees who will use the new systems and they will make a better use of them if they believe in the meaningfulness of their implementation.

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Written by Alco-Mot team