Megatrends pushing manufacturers towards Industry 4.0

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Disruptive technologies and megatrends are shaping the future of manufacturing. The fourth industrial revolution—Industry 4.0—has been gathering momentum in recent years and is set to be transformative in 2017. Industry 4.0 is the digitisation of the manufacturing industry and a realisation of the potential of the Internet of Things (IoT) combined with artificial intelligence and data science. Done right, Industry 4.0 will enable manufacturers to improve efficiencies whilst reducing costs.
The revolution is far from surprising. By 2020, there will be 30 billion connected devices on earth. This is leading to the Big Data mountain growing beyond recognition. Machines communicating with people—and other machines—are creating so much data that we have generated more in the past two years than in the previous 5,000 years of human history.
It is now up to manufacturers to unlock this data. The information generated by the increase of connected devices and machines represents a significant opportunity. By determining how to best identify, capture and interpret this increased volume of data, it can help organisations understand their market and customers better, as well as gaining market share.
In today’s fast moving global markets, manufacturers need to respond quickly to changing demands and maximise new market opportunities. From all indications, we are in an era of significant convergence, where information technology, operational technology, and global megatrends are on a collision course. This will drive changes in how we do business and how we interact with customers and suppliers.
Megatrend #1—Demographic shifts
We are seeing population growing in some nations and shrinking in others, a growing middle class, consumer markets shifting from the west to the east and an ageing population with fewer people entering the manufacturing field.  Take heart though as the technology we are developing continues to make it easier to collaborate and is helping to attract the discerning millennials generation, which is anticipated to account for 75% of the global workforce in 2025 and will play an important role in manufacturing as it continues to evolve.
Megatrend #2—The globalisation of future markets
Companies will expand their operations around the globe, with worldwide exports expected to triple by 2030. Exports from emerging and developing countries will quadruple2, and regional and bilateral trade agreements are likely to further open the world’s borders. The share of GDP generated by the BRIC countries—Brazil, Russia, India, and China—will grow. Sub-cluster countries comprising Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey (MINT) and Mexico, Indonesia, South Korea, Turkey (MIST) are in a position to outperform the advanced world. Technology will continue to be a big enabler of globalisation. Not only through eCommerce and the opening up of additional markets, but also with regards to having enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems in place to support cross-border trading and multi-country manufacturing processes.
Megatrend #3—Scare resources

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