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Industry 4.0: What it is and What it Means for Your Workforce

10/4/23  |  Rexel

The term “Industry 4.0” has become a buzzword across multiple sectors over the years, especially in the world of industrial manufacturing. Often described as the fourth industrial revolution, Industry 4.0 is driving fundamental changes in the way manufacturers and production processes operate, with big implications for your workforce. This post explores what Industry 4.0 is and the knowledge and skills your teams need to thrive in this transformative landscape.

What is Industry 4.0?

Industry 4.0, often labelled as the fourth industrial revolution, captures the integration of digital technology, artificial intelligence (AI), the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), cloud computing, and data analytics into your manufacturing processes. This convergence of technologies creates what are called “smart factories” that operate with improved efficiency, flexibility, and responsiveness.

Put plainly: Industry 4.0 is a shift from traditional manufacturing operations to connected, intelligent systems that can collect data, make decisions based on that data, and optimize your operations.

Adapting Your Workforce to this New Reality

What does Industry 4.0 mean for your workforce? As technology and processes continue to evolve under the influence of Industry 4.0, the skills and knowledge required of your workforce are also transforming. Here are some key focus areas that your teams need to embrace to stay relevant and competitive:

  1. Digital Literacy and Data Analytics: As advanced technology becomes more commonplace in manufacturing facilities, your teams need to become familiar with new digital tools and platforms. Key things to know are collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data to help identify trends, optimize processes, and make informed decisions.
  2. IIoT and Connectivity: The Industrial Internet of Things lies at the core of Industry 4.0. It connects machines, devices, and sensors to gather real-time data. Your teams must understand how to implement, manage, and use interconnected systems to utilize predictive maintenance and improve efficiency and product quality.
  3. Collaborative Problem-Solving: The smarter your manufacturing operations become, the more your teams will need to collaborate cross-functionally. They will need to work together to address challenges across disciplines such as engineering, Information Technology (IT), and operations.
  4. Cybersecurity Awareness: Using more digital tools increases the risk of cyberattacks. Your teams should, at minimum, have a basic understanding of cybersecurity best practices to protect your critical infrastructure from threat actors.
  5. Adaptability and Continuous Learning: It doesn’t seem likely that technology will slow down. That’s why it’s critical for your teams to be adaptable and open to continuous learning. New tools will continue to emerge, and those who continue to keep up with new technology will be well-equipped to stay ahead of the curve and remain competitive.

In collaboration with Rockwell Automation, Rexel offers multiple workforce development opportunities that include global workforce solutions, virtual coaching, instructor-led training, and Learning+, a subscription-based e-learning and virtual classroom training option.

The Learning+ subscription has grown to include the enhanced version, which provides access to more than 140 hours of craft skill training. This includes electrical, mechanical, maintenance, instrumentation, math, and science. 

Embracing the Future: Upskilling and Reskilling

The transition to Industry 4.0 might seem like a tall order – or even scary to some – but it also presents an abundance of exciting opportunities for manufacturers willing to adapt. Investing in upskilling and reskilling your workforce will be better positioned to benefit from these technological advancements. There are plenty of training programs, workshops, and online courses to acquire the skills needed to fully embrace Industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing. Additionally, fostering a culture of learning and innovation within your business will encourage your teams to explore new technologies and propose creative solutions.

Ready to get started on your learning journey? Need help with your digital transformation initiatives? Rexel and Rockwell Automation offer a suite of training, workshops, eLearning courses, and digital tools to keep you competitive. Contact us today To get started!