Industry 4.0 :
a challenge for leaders

Even if business leaders are aware that they must turn the corner of Industry 4.0 at the risk of being sidelined by the competition, the fact remains that they are struggling to achieve their actions.

In the absence of resources, leaders too often postpone their digital and industry 4.0 shifts to later because they are in the heat of their day-to-day work and, in the first place, focus on customer satisfaction.

This can be easily understood.

And yet if we talk about the “industry of the future”, the urgency of the decisions to be made is well to be considered in the present.

The issue of digital innovation is becoming more and more strategic because, behind Industry 4.0 lies a substantial number of opportunities for any company that knows how to take the technological elevator in a relevant way.

Industry 4.0 must find its starting point within governance and within the strategic vision of leaders.

The leader must be in a sense of urgency facing these issues.

If the companies sometimes fail to go digital when they would have a good interest in doing so or adopt a digital plan that is poorly established with regard to their strategic objectives, it is also because leaders sometimes lack appetite for new technologies or don’t know enough about it. Lack of interest sometimes leads them to leave it to others to deal with it, including ICT officials.

And yet, in terms of strategy 4.0, and economic challenge, one of the first vectors is business leaders. They are the actors of the transformation; because in their absence, there will be only « isolated » projects, strategic plans that will never see the light of day, projects that will fail because they will not be supported financially, projects that will not find in-house skills for lack of training.

In transition 4.0, priority must be given to leaders and not to technology because it is only them that can embody this desire for evolution and ensure that projects are successful.

The leader must become a « digital leader »

Within his company, the leader must encourage a culture of innovation, information sharing, transparency and let disappear the archaic patterns based on hierarchy that will create obstacles in this conduct of change.

First of all, leaders must be careful to unite all the employees of the company around the realization of this change.

Indeed, the success of a 4.0 approach goes hand in hand with the desire to learn continuously, the ease of relationships and the adaptability from its main stakeholders.
The leader must embody these qualities and show a visionary spirit in terms of digital evolution. This means agreeing to let go and not having all the answers; they will be to look everywhere: from teams, from the competition, from strategic intelligence, from specialized consultants. 

The challenge for the leaders will be to find a common language to make all the stakeholders understand the 4.0 route plan for the company.

A digital governance to be put in place

Through its governance, the management of a company must become familiar with the digital theme and define its own vision and route 4.0 plan. Moreover, it will also need to know how to take risks and invest in projects whose return on capital remains difficult to assess.

Indeed, the profitability resulting from the integration and optimization of processes or from the centralization of data is more difficult to prove than the contribution of a new machine at the level of the production lines.

On a strategic level, an audit of the company’s digital maturity before a major project is therefore a necessity in order to provide crucial answers to the successful outcome of the project :

✔ What are your capacity needs for the next 3 to 5 years, and what are your technological needs (system, machine, infrastructure, competence, etc.) to support these capabilities ?

✔ You want to double your turnover in 5 years without increasing your staff, which is already hard to find ? Better processes and reliable data will be essential.

✔ Define your directions and prioritize your projects.

✔ What bottlenecks are more holding back your processes, your activity ?

✔ What is the project that will give you more gains in less effort, or which project has the best chance of success to avoid demoralizing the team, etc.

This is the whole point of the strategic diagnosis that PERF’ACTOR offers you.

The challenges the leaders face today are therefore multiple.

That’s why a company’s digital transformation cannot be done without an evolution in the way the business and the people are run.

These 4.0 projects are business projects, they must be the result of a strategic vision and be supported by a team. More than that, these projects must have an ambassador and the best one… the leader.