Manufacturing SMBs: Are You Ready for Industry 5.0?

John Schlemmer | June 10, 2019

Industry 5.0 is coming, and manufacturing SMBs should expect some changes. Concerned? There’s no need. Industry 5.0 promises a bright future for those who embrace it.

Builders, inventors, manufacturers, listen up! My 30 years of experience in working with Manufacturing ERP and Supply Chain software tells me that industry 5.0 will be a real  manufacturing game-changer, and it’s coming on fast. Industry 5.0 means that man and machine will work together almost seamlessly, weaving the human element into emerging technologies to create long-term efficiencies, successes, and even new markets.

Soon, our machines will be working hand-in-hand with us to push out better products. The human touch is coming back to industrial production (even if it does come through automation).

Cloud-based manufacturing ERP just for enterprises? Nope.

Historically, it’s always been the big enterprise companies at the front of these technology advances, but today, that’s not so true anymore.

Cloud-based manufacturing solutions at affordable prices have leveled the playing field. Small and medium-sized businesses are adopting new technologies more readily than the big players.

Manufacturing SMBs know all about competitive markets, and many of them are already depending on Industry 4.0 changes, such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and automated processes to help them win. But the same time, guess what? Far more of you haven’t made that leap to Industry 4.0, let alone being ready to embrace 5.0 when it hits.

Historical context

OK, let me step back and bring a little perspective into play here. Industrial revolutions have always come in waves and each one built on what came before it. The first three major industrial revolutions progressed from steam-powered factories to applying science to mass production to bringing in computers and digitization. The fourth revolution is all about “cyber-physical systems” and the coordination of man and machine (often in new and unexpected ways).

Forbes says Industry 4.0 is “the idea of smart factories in which machines are augmented with web connectivity and connected to a system that can visualize the entire production chain and make decisions on its own.”

In other words, what we have now: computer-driven automation blended with cloud computing, artificial intelligence, mobility, internet sensors, data analytics, and of course robotics.

Why Industry 4.0 Technology?

Those Manufacturing SMBs who have made the move to Industry 4.0 technology through true (not fake) modern manufacturing ERP software are already seeing the benefits:

  • Cloud computing and mobility: The Aberdeen Group states in no uncertain terms that manufacturers undergoing digital transformation to reach Industry 4.0 standards should do so through the cloud. SaaS (Software as a Service) applications outpace on-premises ones in terms of improved inventory turns, better on-time deliveries, and reduced OpEx, as well as lower administrative costs.

SaaS applications also enable users to have anytime, anywhere access to the business by way of their mobile devices. A salesperson, for instance, can connect from the field to their manufacturing software and fulfill a build-to-order configuration on the spot.

  • Internet of Things (IoT): Sensors connect devices to each other and the core manufacturing system, then collect data for analysis in the form of Key Performance Indicators. This saves an incredible amount of time and labor. In the past, someone had to note these data outputs and key them into the system. Once those KPIs from the sensors are in place, then data analytics and business intelligence (BI) come into play (once again saving people from repetitive manual processes and the chance for human error).
  • Data Analytics and BI: Industry 4.0 manufacturing ERP systems can perform as a sort of third-party data warehouse, utilizing their innate data analytics and BI capabilities to sort through piles of data, provide real time displays of results, and even offer predictive analytics to help illuminate the best path forward.
  • Robotics: The rise of robotics shouldn’t bring a rise in fear, whether that be fear of the unknown or of losing jobs. I’ve never seen a company that invested in robotics go and lay off its human workers. What usually happens is the reassigning or retraining of people for higher-level functions.

While I’m sure this is not always the case, robots have proven to improve productivity, safety, and product quality. They’ve also allowed manufacturing companies to compete with either larger manufacturers or even with those organizations in other countries who have already embraced this flexible, customizable, and untiring automation.

Industry 4.0 continues to transform the manufacturing industry, and with good reason. All these new cloud-based technologies are helping to make SMBs more efficient, profitable, and customer-centric. But simply acknowledging that fact isn’t enough. Much wider and faster adoption of these technological advances needs to occur across the board—before we lose our national competitiveness.

And you’d better be planning for Industry 5.0.

The future of manufacturing

It’s an exciting time in our industry. As you evaluate your cloud ERP and manufacturing software options, please keep one eye firmly fixed on the future. Pay attention to what’s going to happen in the short and long term. Find out what Industry 4.0 means for your company now and what Industry 5.0 will mean soon. Most importantly, keep in mind the importance of an adaptable platform. The future will require manufacturing software that readily integrates with whatever new technologies come next.

JAAS Systems is a proud Value Added Reseller (VAR) for Acumatica. Contact our experts with any questions you may have about Acumatica’s cloud ERP software and Acumatica Manufacturing Edition.

Learn More About Acumatica Manufacturing Edition

John Schlemmer

Chief Operating Officer

Categories: Manufacturing

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