While South African enterprises are moving to embrace Industry 4.0 models and technologies to enhance efficiencies and remain competitive, adapting to these new models is not without challenges. However, migration to this new world does not have to take place in a ‘big bang’ manner.
Jesper Toubøl, Vice President, Elements and Moulds at Lego, says traditional business culture and a lack of effective change management can test efforts to move to an Industry 4.0 environment. Toubøl was speaking ahead of the Africa Automation Fair and Connected Industries Conference coming up in June, where he will deliver the keynote address on Industry 4.0.
“Key to transitioning to Industry 4.0 effectively is to shift from a traditional waterfall approach to an agile approach. It is not necessary to do massive rollouts: development and change can be implemented faster in small stages,” he says.
“It is also important to demystify what Industry 4.0 means, particularly among workforces, and to emphasise the business case and workforce benefits of moving to an Industry 4.0 environment. So effective change management is crucial.”
Toubøl notes that industry is confronted with the rapid advent of Industry 4.0 at the same time as older pre-internet management faces the arrival of a wave of millennials and ‘digital natives’ in the workplace, resulting in myriad cultural and operational changes in industrial environments. “Enterprises need to accept new ways of working,” he says.
At the opening of the Connected Industries Conference, which will run alongside the Africa Automation Fair, 4 to 6 June in Johannesburg, Toubøl will present some of Lego’s Industry 4.0 learnings inside his area of expertise, with practical advice on key technologies, managing change and the competencies needed in the workforce.
Marius Smit, event organiser at Reed Exhibitions, says Industry 4.0 is a priority for South African enterprises seeking to grow efficiencies and become more competitive internationally. “Addressing local concerns and Industry 4.0 ambitions, the Connected Industries Conference will assess South Africa’s progress in this regard and consider Industry 4.0’s potential impact on South African manufacturing.