Did you know we’re living in the fourth Industrial Revolution?
Industry 4.0, as it’s been dubbed, has been forcing profound changes on businesses around the world.
To get a sense of how much industrial revolutions have changed the business landscape, let’s look at the first three.
The first Industrial Revolution started in 1780 and over the following decades modernized the manufacturing process through major technological innovations, including steam engines and machine tools. The advances altered almost every aspect of daily life at the time and raised the standard of living across the board.
The Technological Revolution came next in the late 19th Century. Large-scale production of iron and steel led to railroads and the spread of goods. Hydroelectricity powered manufacturing plants, allowing mass production to spread.
It culminated in the third revolution: Globalization. Starting in the 1970s, an automated manufacturing process and an increasingly connected world again reshaped business and forced companies to adapt.
That brings us to today and the fourth revolution. Digitization is emerging and small and medium-sized businesses have an opportunity to ride the wave of opportunity that it brings.
“Industry 4.0 refers to the use of digital technologies to make manufacturing more agile, flexible and responsive to customers,” says the Business Development Bank of Canada, a federal authority on business. “It allows manufacturers to improve their efficiency, create more personalized products and react more quickly to customer needs than ever before.”
BDC has four best practices on how to take advantage of the digital revolution.
- Focus on customer needs: Understand your customers’ true motivations for buying from you
- Be strategic: Identify the technologies required to meet your customers’ needs. Evaluate the digital maturity of your business, and plan changes accordingly.
- Empower your employees: Share your vision, involve your employees in the process and offer adequate training.
- Walk before you run: Start with a small pilot project that will allow you to learn and help prepare you for a larger implementation.
Are other businesses embracing change?
“While Canada is off to a good start, only three per cent of Canadian entrepreneurs have fully implemented Industry 4.0 into their business at a time when competitors in the U.S., Europe and Asia are moving full steam ahead,” says BDC.
BDC says the revolution is a chance for businesses to boost productivity, reduce operating costs and improve overall quality.
We see it as a chance to increase the value of your business or a business you buy.
We’ll get more in depth on how to harness the opportunities of Industry 4.0 in Part 2.
For experienced advice, contact Business Finders Canada now at 1-888-377-8009.
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