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Today, leaders are faced with the task of switching to Industry 4.0 and driving their organisations forward. The market is changing at an astonishing pace, product lifecycles are becoming shorter, innovation is accelerating rapidly, and C-Suite executives in SMEs are struggling to keep up. The transition to Industry 4.0 will bring several advantages. It will be a turning point for SMEs as the industry brings rapid digital change to companies that manufacture and distribute products. The industry will use the digital transformation in manufacturing and process-oriented organisations to develop products and digitise industrial processes.
Industry 4.0 represents a qualitative leap in managing an organisation’s value chain and product life cycle. Such benefits, however, are not without challenges. A recent study by Deloitte reports that many C-Suite executives have difficulty developing effective strategies in the fourth industrial revolution era.
Data shows that executives around the world are having difficulty developing effective strategies for the industry. Factors such as lack of clearly defined decision-making processes and organisational silos are some of the challenges preventing the correct implementation of Industry 4.0 strategies.
The elimination of organisational silos will enable better cross-functional cooperation within the organisation. Leaders pursuing this are bolder than their peers, with half of them investing in technology for this purpose. Creating an environment with limited organisational silos increases employee loyalty as young workers feel that employer-led programs will help them perform at their best. Approximately 46% of these employees feel prepared and are more likely to stay in the organisation for more than five years.
However, the existence of many technology choices can seem daunting. Leaders should remember that only 50% of executives who invest in technologies will achieve or exceed their goals.
These leaders also want to train their workforce for Industry 4.0, and half of the companies that do so have a higher annual turnover than other organisations.
Organisations with effective strategies benefit from being agile, flexible and efficient to meet the changing needs of their customers. To achieve this, Leaders should focus on developing a strategic vision through a holistic, data-driven decision-making process that involves input from a wide range of stakeholders. Industry 4.0 offers organisations several possibilities, but its translation into concrete business strategies requires active efforts from CxO and organisational leadership.
Using data will allow policymakers to determine whether aggressive technological adoption is necessary to succeed in the coming era and overcome challenges such as organisational inertia. SME leaders should also focus on recruiting and retaining the right talent to move into Industry 4.0 and build teams to help break organisational silos and foster innovation.
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