Challenges in Enabling Industry 4.0

The challenges towards enabling industry 4.0 and their possible solutions

IT is undoubtedly the backbone of industrial revolution. It is IT that will decide the future industrial revolutions starting from industry 4.0 and onwards. Some experts say that the IT systems have already enabled the industry 4.0 completely and now we are headed towards the next industrial revolution. Yet the others say that there is still room for improvements in existing model which means the industry 4.0 cannot be marked complete until it meets the security standards. 

Such deficiencies and improvements are worth discussing and that’s why we are here to discuss all these challenges that are a hurdle in the way of completing the vision industry 4.0 and the possible solutions to address these challenges. 

It is said,

“Any problem comes, but not without a solution”

Similar is the case with this advanced IT based system. 

So, without wasting time, let’s have a look at what can be done to tackle the challenges we already discussed in the previous article. 

Challenge # 1

Data sharing in a competitive environment

Integration of IT systems to enable industry 4.0 allows the data sharing in a highly competitive environment which makes online business environment transparent. This transparent business ecosystem means an environment that is vulnerable to cyber-attacks, spying, stealing data and illegal access to the important business files. 

Possible solution

Organizations need to recreate the existing business models and devise new business strategies to address this challenge. 

The possible solution to this transparent environment until this day is that the small organizations must consider the markets with low competition where they can allocate their maximum resources instead of placing their sources and data in an intense market competition where their data will be more vulnerable to cyber-attacks and the threat of being out of competition due to the presence of big companies in the intense market.  

Challenge # 2

Incomplete implementation of industry 4.0 is dangerous

Some small companies are trying to transition to industry 4.0 models on their existing machinery or equipment which results in complicated processes and bigger costs that small industries cannot handle easily. 

Possible Solution:

Total transition of industry 4.0 is necessary. The incomplete transition prevents companies from being successful in market. Thus, small companies must consider full transition if not possible today, they may wait and implement it later.

Challenge # 3

Low degree skills will be out of the job

Industry 4.0 model is based on the idea that the low degree skills are to be performed by machines and robots. Which means, the employees with low degree of skills would be ignored unless they acquire advanced skills that the machines or AI systems cannot perform. 

Possible Solution:

Finding the employees with advanced skills to implement industry 4.0 is a big challenge. To address this challenge, the companies must consider training their existing labor to acquire the needed advanced skills. 

This is the most budget and time friendly solution to this challenge. It will also allow companies to have a disciplined training system that they can use to train labor of other small companies and charge them a good amount instead.  

Challenge # 4

Socio technical challenges

The implementation of IT to enable industry 4.0 may result in:

  1. Polarization of jobs.
  2. The favor that the labor deserves would be shifted to the capital. 
  3. An increased monopolization.
  4. Technical unemployment due to lack of skilled labor.
  5. Increase in ecological fears for population.

Possible Solution:

The industry 4.0 is undoubtedly a socio-technical system. To address the above-mentioned challenges, the joint integration of socio-technical system is required. This can be made possible by training the labor to develop tolerance for machines and design and operate the IT systems in labor friendly way. This can be done in the same way as we talked earlier i.e., training programs should be held to optimize the socio-technical environment within the industry. 

A socio-technical system must have following characteristics for successful implementation of industry 4.0:

  • System must contain interdependent parts.
  • System must have an internal environment consisting of separate but interdependent social and technical subsystems.
  • Joint optimization of social and technical subsystems decides the performance of this system. If one subsystem is favored and is given more resources, it means the other is ignores thus the system will crash. Hence it must be designed in a way that both get equal opportunities. 

Challenge # 5

Cyber security

The implementation of industry 4.0 model means putting the important data on online and transparent platform where there is always risk of cyber-attack remains. 

Cyber security is the backbone for implementing the industry 4.0, otherwise, the lack of proper security system will eventually cause businesses to crash. 

Possible Solution:

The companies can consider following points to prevent themselves from cyber-attacks:

  • Companies must use operating systems that offer automatic updates. Keeping software UpToDate and installing them in patches will cause cyber attackers to not take any advantage of system’s established problems or vulnerabilities. 
  • Companies must have strong passwords and keys to access their systems. It is estimated that 63% of cyber-attacks are successful because of weak passwords. So, creating a strong password and changing it constantly within specific intervals can help companies prevent cyber-attacks. 
  • Companies must consider MFA tool. MFA (Multifactor authentication) uses two identity components to allow access to a system. This makes the system more secure even if the attacker knows the password. 

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