Industry 4.0 implementation roadmap

Implementation roadmap for a painless takoff

Industry 4.0 implementation involves deploying its two basic components:

  1. A machine monitoring system that collects data electronically from the machine, and stores it in a database (picture 1).
  2. Software that automates or improves various activities with the data stored in the database (picture 2). The database of machine activity created by the machine monitoring system in picture 1 is used by various software modules in picture 2.
    Your Industry 4.0 implementation roadmap involves just these components.
machine monitoring via industry 4.0
Picture 1: Machine monitoring and data collection
Software applications in Industry 4.0 implementation
Picture 2: Software that uses data collected from the machine

To implement Industry 4.0, the very first requirement is to start collecting data electronically from your machines and storing the data in a database. Once this is done, you can then start using the data for various Industry 4.0 applications. Vendors for the two components are typically different, because they involve two very different technologies. The first component involves Hardware sensors, IIOT, Cloud computing and Big data management. The second component involves software for running organizations – finance, stores, HR, logistics, etc. It could also be specialized software for preventive maintenance and predictive maintenance, SPC, part traceability, etc. In fact, you probably already have most of the software in the second component, in ERP or other software.

The implementation is ideally done in multiple phases. As you get each phase going, you learn from your mistakes and fine tune the system so that the organization is ready for the next phase. Luckily, Industry 4.0 lends itself beautifully to implementation in phases.

Industry 4.0 implementation plan

Here is an Industry 4.0 implementation plan that you can use as a starting point. The time frames may vary from firm to firm, and you can decide on yours based on your size and working culture.

PhaseActivityAimEquipment needed
Phase 1
D = date of installation
Start tracking:
1. Production quantity.
2. Downtime durations.
Reduce downtime due to operator work ethics.System to track machine activity automatically, store the data in a database, and report production and productivity.
Tablet/PC at which operator or supervisor can select the part number whenever there is a part change.
Phase 2
1 month after D
Start tracking:
1. Downtime reasons.
2. Rejection quantity.
3. Rejection reasons.
1. Reduce downtime due to systems issues – setup time, power failure, no raw material, no tool, etc.
2. Reduce part rejections
Same as in Phase 1. No additions.
Phase 3
2 months after D
Start tracking:
1. Maintenance statistics
2. Consumables usage
1. Reduce machine downtime due to breakdowns
2. Reduce consumables wastage and cost
Same as in Phase 1. No additions.
Phase 4
3 months after D
Implement other Industry 4.0 applicationsAutomate:
1. Scheduling
2. Raw material ordering
3. Logistics
4. Maintenance
5. HR
ERP and other software that is directly connected to the machine monitoring system’s database.

So where do you start ?

Phase 1, 2 and 3: Install a machine monitoring system that can provide data to other software. Implement the low hanging fruit in Phase 2 and 3 – production and productivity monitoring and improvement.

Phase 4: Improve the functioning of your existing ERP or other software by getting them to interact with the database of the machine monitoring system. E.g., the machine monitoring system gives the ERP software accurate and real-time data on production quantity, machine status, downtimes, rejections, consumables usage, etc. The ERP software gives the monitoring software data on work orders, schedules, part and operation details, personnel, etc.

Depending on what your end aim is, you can stop at any of the phases, or even jump phases or mix them up.

LEANworx Industry 4.0 system does Phase 1, 2 and 3. It is designed for SMEs, and is plug and play. Which means it is very economical, and you can get your system going in a matter of hours instead of weeks or months. For your Phase 4, LEANworx has features that enable you to easily connect the software (ERP, scheduling, logisitcs, etc.) to the LEANworx database for 2-way communication.

Industry 4.0 implementation – how NOT to do it

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.

Role of the CEO in implementing Industry 4.0

In terms of transparency, there are two types of people in any organization :

  1. Transparency lovers: Self-motivated people who know they are doing their best, are confident of their ability, and welcome transparency as an opportunity to improve things further. They will look at Industry 4.0 and the transparency it brings as a tool to improve things. Such people may have a lot of ideas on improving things, may have solutions to burning issues, but may have bosses who do not want to take any action. They cannot bypass their bosses and talk to someone higher up.
  2. Transparency haters: People with low motivation and/or ability whose survival in the organization will be at stake if true productivity numbers are known. Their survival depends on feeding false productivity numbers up the hierarchy. They will look at Industry 4.0 as an enemy, harmful for their survival. If the reality is known, they will also have to fix the problems, and they do not have the ability to do this.

By being involved in Industry 4.0 implementation closely, the CEO is empowering and motivating the transparency. The transparency haters are forced to improve their motivation and skills. The CEO therefore MUST be involved hands-on in Industry 4.0 implementation and running.

The CEO’s level of involvement must be high initially, and can then gradually reduce. You must look at key performance indices (KPIs) and their trends, get people to act upon the numbers, and monitor the progress of the actions. KPIs can be whatever you choose to focus on, like OEE, spindle utilization, rejections, downtime, revenue, etc.

Here’s an action plan for the role of a CEO in implementing Industry 4.0:
Month 1-2: Every morning, look at previous day’s efficiency numbers. Half hour per day.
Month 3-forever: Every Monday morning, look at past week’s efficiency numbers. 1 hour per week.
Month 3-forever: 1st of every month, look at long term trends of efficiency numbers. 2 hours per month.

Industry 4.0 is a great friend of the CEO, and the role of a CEO in implementing it is critical to its successful implementation.


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.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is 3adeb7_341117768d1949609b4bde7a572b4a667Emv2-3.png

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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