Industry 4.0, also known as the fourth industrial revolution - following the previous three revolutions: 1) mechanisation, water and steam power; 2) mass production, assembly line, and electricity; and 3) computer automation - is the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It is also known as the “smart factory” through the introduction of cyber-physical systems.
Working in a KAIZEN™-centered culture results in the constant everyday elimination of waste from the workplace which transforms an organisation into one that continuously improves and achieves excellent results. Through the smart use of cyber-physical systems and the careful planning and integration of these systems into KAIZEN™ culture, an organisation can and will leapfrog the competition in terms of productivity and quality improvement while increasing flexibility and throughput.
Both KAIZEN™ and cyber-physical systems are based on the same principle: waste reduction. The concept and the “what” behind the continuous improvement is the constant elimination of the seven process wastes:
The cyber-physical systems organisations are employing communicate and cooperate with each other and humans in real-time, both internally and across organisations along the entire length of the value chain. This results in the elimination of the need to wait for material or information and reduces motion and transportation to retrieve and react to the data. Examples of the use of these systems in business include machines that can predict failures and trigger maintenance processes autonomously, in order to reduce the number of defects and mitigate the effects of downtime; and self-organised logistics which reacts to unexpected changes in production, in order to reduce the amount of overprocessing, overproduction, and work in process inventory.
Cyber-physical systems have a direct positive impact on enhancing the effectiveness organisation in such areas as Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE); Total Productive Maintenance (TPM); Statistical Process Control (SPQ); development and improvement of standard work; poke yoke; and adherence to the three Golden Rules of a KAIZEN™ Leader, e.g. reacting quickly to resolve problems. These systems also unveil many more opportunities to reduce waste whilst mapping a value stream so as to reach a more ideal future state.
Furthermore, prior to the fourth industrial revolution, networks and processes had been limited to one site. These boundaries of individual sites will no longer be a constraint, allowing the coverage of value stream maps to be expanded, with multiple sites and/or geographical regions under consideration. This will contribute to the implementation of quantum improvements to the overall value chain.