The responsibility that makes or breaks executives

Industry 4.0, or the digitalization of manufacturing, offers tremendous strategic opportunity for industrial Tony headshotorganizations.

One of the clearest definitions of strategy comes from Alan Brache and Sam Bodley-Scott in their 2006 book, Implementation: How to Transform Strategic Initiatives into Blockbuster Results.

“We define strategy as the framework of choices that determines the nature and direction of an organization,” the authors wrote. “Strategy is a framework because it should serve as the context for all activities; it should be the water in which you swim.”

According to a new global study “Industry 4.0: Building the Digital Enterprise” by auditing and consultancy firm PwC, manufacturing companies intend to invest around five percent of their revenue in digitalization efforts by the year 2020. They report overall expected investments amounting to an impressive $907 billion USD.

If you believe, like Brache and Bodley-Scott, that “there is only one reason to establish a strategy: and that is to focus investment,” then it seems that we have clear sight into strategy across global manufacturing. The water we are swimming in is digital.

Implementation will be the difference maker, and the responsibility that will make or break executives. Our third annual gathering of digital innovators, Smart Industry 2017 (held September 18-20 at the Swissotel in Chicago), featured an unrivaled speaker group of industry practitioners moving seamlessly from Industry 4.0 strategy development to day-to-day implementation and execution.

Our keynote speakers set the stage for three great days of learning and sharing, and I’d like to thank them here: • Tom Bucklar, Director Innovation & Digital – Caterpillar • Steve Jones, Technical Material & Process Consultant–Steelcase • Joan Knight, Innovation Director – Exelon Generation • Dan Pikelny, Chief Analytics Officer–Navistar

No longer “future” oriented, our attendees arrived at Smart Industry 2017 with current investment interest across a variety of key areas spanning infrastructure, data analytics and models, industrial applications and production technologies.

More specifically, the top 10 areas of investment interest areas included: • IIOT Platforms • Remote Monitoring • Maintenance • Analytics • Asset Performance Monitoring • Business Intelligence • Automation • Mobility • Digital Twin • Manufacturing Execution

This year, for the first time, we had more attendees tell us they were seeking to expand projects already in place. More evidence that the digital transformation in manufacturing is upon us—one project, one initiative, at time. With more knowledge and understanding of successful use-cases and applications, companies are accelerating adoption across internal functions and between external value-chain partners.

Jeffrey Pfeffer, professor of organizational behavior at the Graduate School of Business, Stanford University was quoted as saying: “Successful organizations understand the importance of implementation, not just strategy, and, moreover, recognize the crucial role of their people in this process.”

Now is the time to take control of your initiative development and equip your people to deliver the outcomes your digital strategy is built for. Smart Industry is here to help.

Tony D’Avino is publisher of Smart Industry.