Without wanting to state the obvious, we are in the midst of a significant digital transformation. Even though some dismiss ‘Industry 4.0’ as ‘marketing noise’ or ‘vapour’, shifts are happening across a number of sectors which deserve our attention.

While many organizations may still be in denial about how industry 4.0 will impact their business, or are  struggling to find the talent or knowledge to get future-fit, others are implementing changes today to prepare for tomorrow. But new technology often requires new talent. Unfortunately, that talent doesn’t traditionally sit in the industrial sector.

Digital Engineering: Digital tools, using better and more efficient delivery methods

With numerous examples of best-practice, and some exemplary projects to reference, it’s clear the tools and approaches are available today to positively transform how we deliver major infrastructure projects. The challenge is to adapt to change wholeheartedly, kick off the old habits and outdated ways of working, and build a new industry dynamic. Swift, impactful, and effective responses are hampered by the lack of R&D, as inefficient and outdated project delivery methods create a drag on our economy.

Data Capture: Drones, data capture, and asset management

Imagine an environment where logistics and supply chains are optimised … where a well-connected supply chain can adjust and accommodate as and when new information is presented. For example, if bad weather delays a shipment, a connected system can proactively adjust to that reality and modify priorities.

Modern Construction techniques: Modular, Robots, and 3D printing

Connected machines now have the ability to collect tremendous volumes of data. This can inform maintenance, highlight performance or other issues, and analyse data to identify patterns and insights incredibly quickly. Industry 4.0 offers organisations the opportunity to optimize their operations quickly and efficiently.

Once only available to large enterprises with equally large budgets, robotic technology is more affordable and readily available to organizations of every size. From picking products in a warehouse, to preparing shipments, autonomous robots can quickly and safely support a number of industry sectors, most specifically manufacturers. You only have to look at Amazon – they have used Robots to increase efficiencies, reduce costs, and allow better use of floor space.

Immersive technology: The Internet of Things, and m2m

A key component of Industry 4.0 is the Internet of Things (or connected devices). Not only does such connectivity aid internal operations, but via the cloud, equipment and operations can be optimised. Data is leveraged, enabling the insights of others using the same equipment (however large or small that enterprise may be) to be shared.

Whilst innovations within the sector are still evolving, we might not have the complete picture until we look back in 30 years’ time. One thing is certain; companies who are embracing technological advances are realising the potential of Industry 4.0. These same companies are also grappling with how to upskill their current workforce and recruit new employees to take on new work responsibilities.

If you would like to discuss this article in more detail, or understand how Norman Broadbent could assist you with your ‘digital journey’, please do not hesitate to contact Tony Robinson +44 (0) 20 7484 0116 or via for an initial confidential discussion.