Industry 4.0 implementation – how NOT to do it

Industry 4.0 implementation – pitfalls and best practices

The thing about Industry 4.0 and machine monitoring is that it is new, everybody wants to implement it, but very few people have done it yet. So there is very little prior knowledge. One of the biggest pitfalls in Industry 4.0 implementation is biting off more than you can chew (and then having to spit it all out because it doesn’t go down your throat).

Industry 4.0 implementation - don't bite off more than you can chew
Don’t bite off more than you can chew

Don’t bite off more than you can chew ! In implementing Industry 4.0, many firms will start off with an enormous wish list of benefits that they want immediately, translating into features that involve long implementation time and high cost. In addition, there’s an ‘All or nothing’ attitude – “I want everything, I want it today, or I’m not interested”. This is not a great way to get Industry 4.0 benefits, and will usually result in a failed project. Here are some ground rules to ensure that the effort pays off in the end.

Do it in phases Design your system so that you can implement it in phases. Each phase has a set of Industry 4.0 features to be implemented, and a time deadline. E.g., Phase 1 gets a machine monitoring system going along with a few Industry 4.0 applications. Keep the features in each phase to a handful. This way you start seeing the monetary benefits really early, as early as in a month or two. These benefits get your company enthused, and will enable you to decide how much you want to invest in the project.

Allow for course correction Be prepared to change your specifications as you go along. While you are implementing phase 1, you may learn something that tells you that the earlier design of phase 2 was faulty, and needs to be corrected. You can do this painlessly, well in advance of the start of phase 2. You will have to change downstream phases as you learn from your mistakes and successes in upstream phases.

Allow time for culture change Industry 4.0 implementation involves people on the shop floor and in offices, working closely with data coming in from machines of various types. Data that was collected manually will be replaced by data tracked automatically, in real time (real time = ‘as soon as an event occurs’). People will have to deal with a lot more data, and respond faster. Decisions will need to be made faster. Some decisions will be made by the software itself, and tasks done automatically. All this involves a lot of change in the mindset of people. This is possible in phase-wise implementation.

Be prepared for multiple vendors Industry 4.0 involves multiple technologies: data collection from machines, sending to the Cloud through IOT, storing on the cloud, and processing to perform various functions. No single vendor will have a solution for all of these. You will have to work with multiple vendors, and they will have to work with each other to share the data. Vendor1 may give you a machine monitoring system, you may already have an ERP from Vendor2 that you can connect to the database of the monitoring system, Vendor3 may have a good production scheduling system (that the ERP does not have), etc.

There may be no end to it This sounds like bad news, but is actually good news. Industry 4.0 in essence is the collection and use of data electronically and efficiently. There really is no end to the type of applications inside and outside the shop floor that you can extend it to. Each new application will lead to increase in operational efficiency and monetary benefit.


Starting your day on a high note

I was in Indore on work a while ago, and at 8 AM I popped over to a small eatery for the traditional Indore breakfast of Poha and Jalebi. Right next to my breakfast place I saw a shop selling Bhang. Totally legitimately, licensed and all that. There were also people gulping down glasses of bhang at that hour, essentially starting their day on a high note. I couldn’t believe my eyes, because it’s the first time in my life that I was seeing a bhang shop. It’s unknown in my city of Bangalore, and in most of India, barring MP, UP and a couple of other states. Varanasi in UP is supposed to be THE place for bhang.

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The raw material for making bhang is leaves of Weed (alias Marijuana/ Cannabis / Pot / Weed / Ganja / Dope / Hash). Bhang is basically a Weed milk shake. Grind the leaves, chuck the stuff in a glass of milk, stir well, and gulp it down. Sugar is optional, and an upmarket version called Bhang Thandai also has almonds, saunf (aniseed), cardamom, mint leaves, pepper and rose petals. Thandai means ‘cold drink’ in Hindi. You also have a buttermilk version called Bhang Lassi. Bhang is made from the leaves and seeds, Charas from the resin, Ganja from the flower (the latter two you smoke). The word ‘Pot’ is derived from the Spanish word potiguaya, or ‘cannabis leaves’, in Mexico. Hash is derived from the Arabic word Hashish. India has traditionally been such a great consumer of the stuff that there’s even a variety named after the country – Cannabis Indica.

Flowers and buds

I found out that Bhang is perfectly legal because of a couple of loopholes in the law.
1. It’s illegal to grow weed, but legal to harvest from weed growing wild.
2. It’s illegal to consume any part of the plant other than the leaves, and perfectly legal to consume the leaves. In fact, till 1985 the whole plant was legal in India. You could smoke, drink, eat, smell or do anything with any part of the plant.

The guy in the purple jacket in the picture gulped down a glass of bhang at 8 AM, presumably on his way to work. I wonder what profession he’s in, that allows him (or maybe even needs him) to do this ? I’d really like to switch professions with him.

About his blog from LEANworx: Plug-and-play Industry 4.0 system for MSMEs.

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