Barriers on the road to connected manufacturing
Bosch Software Innovations conducts survey of manufacturing companies. A majority of the 181 survey participants from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland already use connected software solutions – and an even higher percentage of them are planning to introduce Industry 4.0 software solutions in the next 12 months.
Bosch Software Innovations conducts survey of manufacturing companies
A majority of the 181 survey participants from Germany, Austria, and Switzerland already use connected software solutions – and an even higher percentage of them are planning to introduce Industry 4.0 software solutions in the next 12 months. However, organizational hurdles, concerns about data security, and a lack of properly qualified employees are currently seen as the biggest barriers to the deployment of Industry 4.0 software solutions. These are just some of the findings of a Bosch Software Innovations survey of manufacturing companies (including several Bosch plants). Respondents specified that key barriers include a lack of standards or standards that are unclear (15 percent), data security concerns (13 percent), a lack of transparent cost-benefit analyses (12 percent), and poor compatibility of current solutions with existing systems (11 percent).
Standards are not always the answer
Many of the survey participants feel that standards for connected manufacturing have still not been properly established or clearly formulated – or simply do not exist. “But that doesn’t mean companies should wait around for industry to come up with a clear and definitive set of standards. The only way to learn which standards we ultimately need is by implementing concrete applications,” says Daniel Hug, Head of the Manufacturing and Logistics unit at Bosch Software Innovations. Hug argues that companies should start up their own projects in their core business to benefit from the added value that is already available. As Hug puts it: “The motto for Industry 4.0 is gradual evolution instead of revolution. Learning from concrete examples is the key. That’s the fastest way of giving managers a feel for the cost/benefit balance and ideas for further use cases. And, if you integrate existing systems right from the start, you can alleviate compatibility problems – one of the key barriers cited by survey participants.”
Data security still needs work
The second major obstacle to Industry 4.0 is data security. When asked about this issue explicitly, 59 percent of the survey participants admitted they are concerned about the data security aspects of deploying Industry 4.0 software solutions. Guarding against manipulation and industrial espionage were the two most critical issues cited by respondents. “That’s where you need to focus if you’re in the business of providing applications for connected industry,” says Hug. “Important and effective practices are already available, such as systematic threat and risk analyses. It’s essential to clearly set out and communicate these practices in a way that everyone can clearly understand – including people who are not IT experts – and to present the relevant facts in each case. That will help build at least some of the trust that production managers need to feel.”
New career profiles for Industry 4.0
The survey also revealed that 27 percent of respondents see current resources as a hurdle. The most-cited problem is a shortage of employees who have the expertise and background required for Industry 4.0 projects. Simply put, connected manufacturing applications require a completely new set of skills. Companies need people who have process and production expertise combined with IT know-how. “It’s important for engineers and computer scientists to find a common language. That’s why you need service providers and partners like Bosch Software Innovations who can bring together production and IT experts to implement these kinds of projects in the future,” Hug says.