The need to understand how M4.0 applies
to the particulars of their businesses comes
up again when survey takers were asked to
identify the most important things their executive management teams want to know
about M4.0. On this question, 30% of respondents cited that need, followed by 24%
saying their leaders most want to know about
possible new business models emerging from
the M4.0 trend and 15% saying that they
needed to better understand the business
case for M4.0 (chart 5).
These issues – uncertainty about applicability, lack of knowledge about M4.0, curiosity about new or changed business models
– have combined to create an insecurity in the
minds of survey respondents. When asked
how vulnerable their companies’ future success might be as a result of current levels of
M4.0 preparedness at their companies, 71%
of survey takers indicated either a slight or
moderate vulnerability. Ten percent said very
vulnerable (chart 8.)
This sense of vulnerability may be eased if
company leadership teams can develop a new
set of skills and abilities as well as knowledge
and expertise in a variety of M 4.0-related areas.
Chief among the skills and abilities survey
respondents say are important for their leadership teams to develop are using computer-based analytics to help make data-driven decisions (67%), understanding a wide range of
functions and processes and how they can be
integrated (63%), and managing accelerating
market and technology change (61%) (chart 9).
Most desired in terms of developing
knowledge and expertise are better use of
customer data (71%); new technologies, such
as cloud computing, mobile, and big data
(67%); cybersecurity (67%); and leadership
development itself (62%) (chart 10).
Taken together, the importance attached
to these needs amounts to a significant un-
dertaking for any company, and one that will
require leadership focus and investments in
time, money, and change management. Most
likely, they won’t be quick or easy for most
companies, requiring considerable time to
devise, implement, and practice.
And that measured pace, which is sure to
define the journey to M4.0 for manufacturing leadership, may in fact be the preferred
approach for many companies, for there
is much yet to be understood and proven.
When probed about the most significant
leadership challenges with M4.0, survey
respondents concentrated primarily on
business and organizational factors, not on
Understanding the business case and return on investment for M4.0 was cited by
25% as the top challenge facing leadership
teams, followed by how to change corporate
culture and employee attitudes and determining what the migration to a digital future
actually looks like (chart 11). Understanding the technologies involved with M4.0 was
cited by only 8% of survey takers as the most
important challenge for leadership.
It’s pretty clear that the fundamental transformation that M4.0 represents for the manufacturing industry will not be fast and simple,
particularly considering the changes that will
be required to long-held ways of doing things.
The journey to M4.0 won’t be as easy as devis-ing a 140-character Twitter message or as fast
as posting a picture on Facebook. As a result,
expectations about the speed and pace of the
journey must be set based on the realities of a
complex, diverse industry that thinks and acts
in a careful, deliberate fashion.
Nevertheless, the race belongs to the swift
and especially to those who can figure out
ways to speed up their own journeys. That’s
the challenge and opportunity for manufacturing leadership today. M
................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ................... ...................
create an in-