Compliance with Industry Standards and Regulations
Manufacturers are always under high scrutiny in procedures relating to product safety, waste disposal and reclamation procedures. On top of increased scrutiny and strict industry standards, regulations are updated frequently, making it difficult for some manufacturers to keep up. Costs can rise and fall with changing regulations and their tax implications, which can wreak havoc on manufacturers’ business plans. Manufacturers also have to keep track of these changes and manually update their systems.
Industry 4.0 changes all this. With the help of cloud-based manufacturing and blockchain technology, manufacturers can now implement automated Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solutions that increase traceability within their value chains from supplier to customer. It is now easier than ever to ensure compliance and stay competitive while focusing on fulfilling production orders in a timely manner.
Smarter Inventory Control
Without automated inventory control processes, it is difficult even for experienced manufacturers to manage inventory levels in a cost-effective manner. In other words, they lose money when stocked inventory does not move for long periods of time. Conversely, manufacturers also lose money when they do not have enough raw material to meet production deadlines.
Digitization using blockchain technology can help manufacturers automate their production processes and the renewal of raw material orders based on recent consumer purchasing trends. Digitally tracking recent consumer trends and automating renewal orders can help keep manufacturers from producing too much or too little inventory.
Staying Competitive Globally with Technology Advances
To stay competitive in the global marketplace, a manufacturer must maintain customer loyalty, reasonable production costs, and high quality in their finished products. With technology advances brought about during Industry 4.0, including automation, robotics, IoT, and cloud computing, it is hard to compete for most manufacturers stuck in pre-Industry 4.0. Their IT departments have to spend time researching new technologies, get corporate approval to procure and install them, and by the time they’ve done so, a newer and more agile solution may emerge.
With the decentralization of blockchain technology, manufacturers can incorporate newer technologies more quickly and securely at lower costs and associated risks. Decentralization helps spread the risk of cybersecurity vulnerabilities by eliminating a single point of failure. Manufacturers would be free to focus on fulfilling production orders using automation with smart sensors and IoT interconnected with a blockchain protocol.
Handling the Deluge of Big Data
While digitization has many advantages, it also comes with disadvantages. One notable disadvantage is the deluge of big data. Manufacturers using smart sensors and interconnected IoT devices are handling more data than ever. In order to keep up with the competition, they need to crunch more data in less time to gain useful insights and analytics. They also need to ensure that the right decision-makers have access to these insights, so that manufacturers can implement the right strategies and actions for their business growth.
Therefore, manufacturers need a flexible and scalable Big Data infrastructure that reliably integrates all systems onto a single platform. Using distributed and decentralized ledger technology, namely blockchain, to securely store data can help manufacturers gain real-time and accurate insights on their production processes and supply chains.