6 Main Uses Of Industry 4.0 With PLM

Andrew Sparrow
6 min readNov 11, 2019

I really believe it’s already clear that when someone talks of Business Transformation it incorporates digital, because if it does not, then you’ve already fallen too far behind.

And, when you do transform, surely it starts with using digital technologies to further enable the relationship with your customer?

Surely it’s improving products and service first, because anything else means you’re falling behind and wasting time, energy and money on internal projects that in hindsight meant little to your organization’s future.

The potential to transform to a customer-centric business through the use of Industry4.0 Technologies and more, is leading to significant disruption across the manufacturing industries.

The 4IR and the associated Industry4.0 Technologies empower and demand enterprise cultures and people to re-shape the already established and create new ways of doing business that are more firmly integrated with clients and partners. Its strength sits upon innovative technologies, concepts, mindset shifts and digital data.

This increasing digital value demands organizations rethink the way they handle data and information to bring about hugely improved value chain experiences. The impact penetrates both internal processes and interaction with the EcoSystem.

The structuring of a digital platform that blends existing and newly emerging IoT data across the entire manufacturing lifecycle will lead to the true success of a Business Transformation.

This is where Product / Asset Lifecycle Management (PLM / ALM ) assumes the central role for industrial enterprises by creating a single-source data platform for workers, partners, and clients. Plus, the growing presence of PLM from the cloud offers enterprises new opportunities to provide newer and faster, more agile services, less up-front investment, and/or a subscription-based model.

Over recent months, I have taken the time to draft a number of articles that allows ease of entry to the 4th Industrial Revolution and in each one adopting a culture of fail-fast, learn-quicker was advised. The essential speed of trying, failing and learning leads to a new innovative, market leading way of doing business.

“Experiment and launch as many pilots around ecosystem analytics as you can, across the whole enterprise. Look at sourcing, look at R&D, look at business support functions. Find out which one works. If they work: scale. If they don’t: move to the next idea,” Eric Schaeffer, Accenture

Connecting The Enterprise

The new Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is enabling connectivity with customers in real time. It improves customer insights and monitors product performance throughout its lifetime. From the most simplistic to complex and extensive of products, IoT provides opportunities to develop new types of maintenance and operational solutions in the following ways:

Product Usage & User Experiences

IoT provides an in-depth view of how the product is being used along with those elements that are not of interest and usage. Furthermore, rather than workflow based engagements, the new consumer demands a unique and fast user experience and is one that together with the IIoT can be enhanced.

Product Monitoring

This relates more to performance of the product in light of ever demanding environmental and regulatory requirements.

Product Maintenance

Arguably, one of the biggest areas is the ability to monitor and maintain both predictively and prescriptively, remotely or present physically.

The New PLM 4.0 Environment

Interactive technologies are transforming our product expectations. We expect usable, self-guided and efficient user experiences.

Design and Manufacturing needs to handle new, complex problems related to combinational issues of mechanical, electronic and software elements, like never before. Now BOMs need to cover not only mechanical and electronic parts, but also, software elements. As a result, mechanical, electrical and software teams will blend as it’s what will be required to meet the customer demands.

The connected devices and associated technologies now helps to close the loop between the “disconnected” design twin and the physical world, care of real time production IoT devices pushing back’n’forth performance intelligence. What was previously in the domain of the design and engineering environments only, now can bring data points related to product performance and efficiency to the rest of the organization.

PLM 4.0 Solutions

Regardless of individual functionality, the PLM market is changing rapidly and the software solution providers to remain competitive, need to develop solutions related to those new needs above.

Digitalization and Industry4.0 is the main driving force. Although PLM can be regarded as the first wave, today’s companies are being pushed to become digital in one way or another, before it’s too late for their survival.

Existing enterprises will also need to mix the new digitalized ways with what’s available right now in the PLM box. The challenge is to develop solutions that provide a smooth and timely transition, the change management needs, development of best practices and a solid ROI.

This is no easy task. PLM development is spreading in many directions:

  1. Digitalization sits at the heart and is all about extracting customer and business value from digital data.
  2. As for PLM, the impact is profound. Driven by big data information management, information management as we know it today is being re-engineered from top to bottom. Undergoing changes are predictive analytics, data mining, search, digital manufacturing and virtual commissioning, data migration, interoperability, simulation and optimization — not to mention collaboration among people and increasingly intelligent machines.
  3. Platformization is the shift to enterprise strategic and solution platforms. The main point of this type of Platform, is for multiple cross-vendor solutions to be seamlessly deployed using a Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). As PLM spans from product concept through product life, and integrates people, processes, business systems and information, these capabilities cover activities from engineering and manufacturing to general business functions and they all need capturing in one place for analysis and intelligence.
  4. The Internet of Things is one of the major trends, due not only to the sheer volumes of data extracted, but is transforming how we organize and execute product design, development, manufacturing and maintenance/servitization.
  5. Consider further the true definition of digital transformation with the Digital Twin and the ability to simulate new models, fail and learn is at an unrivaled level.
  6. The Cloud PLM Cloud adoption is accelerating. According to recent reports 95% of manufacturers plan to purchase and deploy a PLM Cloud solution within the next 24 months. The expectation is to improve ROI through performance, scalability and security while providing increased enterprise collaboration with self-service, purpose-built, and role-based applications

Bringing PLM To The C-Suite

It’s a passion to bring PLM & Smart Manufacturing to the top of the C-Suite agenda for its survival in the 4IR

Always love to hear your thought

Andrew Sparrow



Andrew Sparrow

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