Implementing an Industry 4.0 model, however, is likely to be achieved in a series of steps, rather than a wholesale and sudden change. SFS interviewed manufacturers and expert management consultants in order to understand the hurdles associated with the transition.
Of the six key challenges identified in the paper, manufacturers ranked the issue of developing Digital Skills and Access to Finance for the Scale of Investment as the two most important issues they face. The following four key challenges – in order of importance – comprise: Creating a Culture of Collaboration; overcoming Data and Cyber Security Concerns; Gaining comprehensive access to a broad enough volume and range of Proof Points and specialized strategic management capabilities to create a Clear, Phased Plan to achieve Industry 4.0.
Building a practical plan for Industry 4.0 cannot be reduced to a single, simplistic formula; each company's circumstances are different. Nevertheless, respondents agreed that a robust methodology is essential for building a sustainable plan for digitalization and automation. The consensus methodology emerging from this study covers six key inter-related areas: assessing obstacles; evaluating opportunities; measuring efficiencies; recruiting and training talent; developing digital management; and integrating strategic finance.
Respondents repositioned finance as an early consideration in building a practical plan for Industry 4.0. Considering financing possibilities as a first step in plan-building serves to open the range of technology investment options available as part of strategy development in the quest for Industry 4.0.
Specialist financiers have developed a set of financing tools – 'Finance 4.0' - that enable the transition to new-generation digital technology in a way that is affordable, sustainable and is designed to alleviate the manufacturer's cash flow and working capital pressures. The paper explores these specialist financing methods, including pay-to-access/use equipment and technology finance, technology upgrade and update, software finance, pay for outcomes, transition finance and working capital solutions.
"Considering financing possibilities early on and in the very first stages of strategy and plan development will give manufacturers a wider range of options when managing the acquisition of new-generation digital technology," comments Kai-Otto Landwehr, Head of Commercial Finance at Siemens Financial Services in Germany. "But only specialist financiers have the understanding of Industry 4.0 technology, and how it is implemented, to enable investment while alleviating manufacturers' cash flow and working capital pressures."
The research has been launched as part of Siemens Finance Week. Siemens Finance Week 2018 provides a discussion platform and seeks to demonstrate how financing solutions can help businesses to meet current and future challenges.
Over 60 manufacturers and expert management consultants were interviewed over the phone in October and November 2017. They were asked to identify their main challenges (ranked in order of importance) to digitalization and automation in practice and what the interrelationships between those challenges are. In addition, they were asked how a successful strategy is built, what skills are required and how it can be financed to produce the best return-on-investment. Interviewees came from the following countries: China, France, Germany, India, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the UK and the US.
Siemens Finance Week 2018 provides a discussion platform and seeks to demonstrate how financing solutions can help businesses to meet current and future challenges.
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