Near unanimity among 1,000 respondents to Engineers Journal survey in answering 'yes' that Ireland should invest in becoming world leader in Industry 4.0 development and implementation

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There was near unanimity of the almost 1,000 respondents to an Engineers Journal survey, carried out in conjunction with Festo, in answer to the question ‘how important is it that Ireland should invest in being world leaders in development and implementation of Industry 4.0’. A staggering 96 per cent answered that it was important, very important or extremely important.

And, more than half of respondents (55 per cent) said they either strongly agreed or agreed with the statement that ‘soon there will be a lot of disruption to current business models due to trends in Industry 4.0’. While almost three-quarters of respondents (74 per cent) said that ‘Industry 4.0 will provide opportunity for my firm in the future’.

Change required if you are to compete


“The figure of 75 per cent is an incredibly high figure, it shows that the market is aware that change is required for them to compete in their industry,” said Stephen McGovern, key account manager, Festo Ireland. “Regardless of the industry you are in, changes are happening all around us. The changes we see today are being driven from the changing needs of our customers.

“Customers are under constant pressure to reduce costs and provide higher quality. In a global marketplace we need to innovate to support the changing needs of customers of today and tomorrow. New opportunities will not be found if we stand still, we need to move forward to remain competitive and grow.”

.Other survey findings include:
• Almost 60 per cent answered that ‘Industry 4.0 as a concept will provide opportunity for me in my role’;
• Almost 85 per cent agreed that ‘if Ireland innovates with Industry 4.0 trends, we will become more competitive’;
• More than half of respondents (55 per cent) said they either strongly agreed or agreed with the statement that ‘soon there will be a lot of disruption to current business models due to trends in Industry 4.0’;
• A mere 26 per cent said their company was ‘investing in Industry 4.0’, with a third answering negatively (33 per cent), and 40 saying they didn’t know
• A total of 70 per cent answered ‘no’ in response to the question whether ‘You or your company are aware of Irish industry support bodies on Industry 4.0’.

High percentage of engineers see their roles changing


In response to the 60 per cent who answered that ‘Industry 4.0 as a concept will provide opportunity for me in my role’, Ester Labat, customer communications, Festo Ireland, said: “It was inevitable that a high percentage of engineers would see their role change and opportunities deriving from those changes. The new industry 4.0 era will necessitate new cross-functional roles with different knowledge and skills that need to combine IT and production knowledge.

“In order to be as productive and innovative as possible, today’s engineers need the ability to collaborate with partners across the world. This is because technical data is not only growing at an astonishing rate, but cross-disciplinary knowledge is increasingly necessary for modern projects.

“So no longer will an engineer or project manager be stuck behind a desk ploughing through technical documents instead they will be on-site or off-site with instant access to a huge amount of information at their fingertips.”

Responding to the 85 per cent who agreed that ‘If Ireland innovates with Industry 4.0 trends, we will become more competitive’, McGovern said: “To be competitive we need to be more productive than others in our markets, and these demands will require new skills and new technology. They say it is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change. By fostering a culture of learning, change and innovation, Ireland can be a world leader.”

Underestimating change that will occur in next 10 years


In terms of the disruption to current business models due to trends in Industry 4.0, McGovern said: “Bill Gates said we always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10. Disruption is an ongoing part of the business cycle, this is also true of business models.

“Industry 4.0 is changing the tools we use, and software is changing how we communicate and co-operate to create value for our customers. As these tools change, our business models will change also. By studying the longer-term trends, we can anticipate and prepare for changes in our models,” he said.

In terms of the overall survey results: “I was surprised at the level of response and knowledge from the market,” Labat said. “It clearly shows that Industry 4.0 is current and has evolved from a concept to reality. It also shows that all industry segments in Ireland are aware of Industry 4.0 but are not sure of how to proceed.”

 

According to the survey, senior engineers (almost 31 per cent) accounted for the biggest grouping of respondents, followed by junior engineers (24 per cent) and department head (18 per cent).

Festo Ireland can be contacted at: ROI 01-2954955; NI (028) 90401072.

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There was near unanimity of the almost 1,000 respondents to an Engineers Journal survey, carried out in conjunction with Festo, in answer to the question 'how important is it that Ireland should invest in being world leaders in development and implementation of Industry 4.0'. A staggering 96 per cent...