Smart Factory Statistics in 2017 - Industry 4.0 in Numbers

If you work in manufacturing or in any sort of process environment you’re probably well aware that there’s a revolution going on – Industry 4.0, 4IR, or to give it its full title, the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Coined first as Industrie 4.0 in a German research paper back in 2013, Industry 4.0 is the future of Smart Manufacturing using the Industrial Internet of Things, Cloud Computing, cyber-physical systems & cognitive computing.

In much more simple terms, Industry 4.0 is “the next phase in the digitisation of the manufacturing sector”.(McKinsey).

We believe Industry 4.0 is one of the most exciting areas of technology around today, but many in Industry are still dubious as to what implementing 4IR strategies can truly achieve. So, we’ve put together some of the most important stats surrounding Industry 4.0 so you can decide for yourself if you think embracing this shift is the future for your organisation.


67% of UK Manufacturers recognise Industry 4.0 as an opportunity

The Manufacturer, HSO, The Annual Manufacturing Report

Industry 4.0 is a huge opportunity for UK manufacturers, and most of them agree. 62% are planning on building towards Industry 4.0, and 23% are already doing so, leaving just 15% believing 4IR is not important to them. However, there still seems to be a lot of uncertainty surrounding the work involved with 4IR.


Only 25% Feel They Have Sufficient Understanding of the Issues, Implications, Threats and Opportunities of Industry 4.0

The Manufacturer, HSO, The Annual Manufacturing Report

As much as UK manufacturers realise the opportunity, few feel equipped to take on the challenges that come with embracing Industry 4.0. Support will, of course, be essential for companies tackling this next stage of innovation in Industry, however, manufacturers seem to be receiving a mixed bag when it comes to government support. 48% reported the support they had received on 4IR as poor, compared to 30% feeling the government had supported well. Either way, there’s still much work to be done; only 4% felt the government were doing “very well”.

There are a number of government organisations doing great work in bringing 4IR to more organisations- you can check out our list at the bottom of this post.


By 2020, Industry 4.0 is expected to bring an average cost reduction of 3.6% p.a. across process industries globally, totalling $421 billion

PWC Global Industry 4.0 Survey

Expected cost reductions vary across industries, from 4.2% p.a. in Forest, Paper & Packaging to 3.2% p.a. in Metals and Transport & Logistics. Across industries, however, it is abundantly clear that a significant cost reduction is expected across the board by implementing 4IR practices.


In 2015, only 50% said data had a significant impact on decision making. By 2020 this figure is expected to reach 83%

PWC Global Industry 4.0 Survey

Data is, of course, at the heart of Industry 4.0, but it’s surprising to read that only 50% were making data-driven decisions only two years ago. This figure is an average across industries, and some industries are expecting to be more driven by data than others, such as 90% of decision making in Transportation & Logistics compared to only 72% in Engineering & Construction.

Breaking down data silos is a key concept in building on your Industry 4.0 factory. Everyone has their favourite way of collecting and displaying their data, but this results in duplication of work across the board. The first step in any 4IR project is discovering what data you have already, before figuring out if you can automate that data collection.

Regardless of industry, data-driven decision making is the future.


Industry 4.0 could add $14.2 trillion to the global economy by 2030


We all know that $14.2 trillion is a gigantic number, but it sometimes is hard to put large numbers like this into perspective. $14.2 trillion is roughly equal to the nominal GDP in 2017 of the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada, The Netherlands & Belgium combined. This figure is based on the efficiencies that will be gained by organisations implementing 4IR strategies globally, which should be exciting for every manufacturer looking to improve their bottom line.

Of course, this figure is highly dependent on manufacturers globally grasping this opportunity with both hands and running with it, as well as the necessary support from international governments.


73% confess their companies have yet to make any concrete progress creating new revenue streams using IIoT


A slightly dated figure as this comes from a report published in 2015, but we believe this figure to still be highly relevant in 2017. This statistic comes from a survey of more than 1,400 C-suite decision-makers. 84% of these decision-makers believe that their organisations have the exciting capability to create new revenue streams from IIoT. As Industry 4.0 enablers at Exmos, we see a lot of talk and hype in the media surrounding Industry 4.0, but many are slow to actually take action. We strongly believe that 4IR principles don’t have to be disruptive to your entire operations, and they don’t need to cost an arm and a leg.


Got you interested? There’s plenty of support out there

If you’ve read around a bit on Industry 4.0, you’d be forgiven for thinking getting involved is a super complex process that involves robots and artificial intelligence, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. Getting started with your own projects can be as simple as automating some data collection using a simple IoT device, or visualising some data that's already being collected multiple times by several different parties.

Even better, you don’t have to do it alone; there are a number of organisations around in the UK that are built to support and advise when it comes to Industry 4.0.

Innovate UK – the UK’s innovation agency, for connecting to innovators in the field you’re interested in, the latest funding opportunities and advice on how to get funding.

HMV Catapult – The High-Value Manufacturing Catapult has 7 centres across the UK and offer “access to world-class equipment, expertise and collaborative opportunities”, working with manufacturers of all sizes.

SMAS – The Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service offers manufacturing improvement support for organisations up here in Scotland, very much supporting ways to help make your organisation more efficient.

CENSIS – The Centre for Sensor and Imaging Systems offer great support when it comes to getting involved with IoT. If you have an idea for a project, they can help you bring this to fruition in your facility. 

As well as all the above, extra funding for 4IR projects can be achieved through Research & Development Tax Credits, so make sure to explore every avenue when it comes to getting support for Industry 4.0 projects. And of course, if you’re looking for help getting these things up and running, get in touch and we’ll be glad to sit down and have a chat to discuss your operations and your challenges.


It’s all about the data

Yes, Industry 4.0 is exciting, but remember that at the end of the day it’s all about data. Figure out what data you have, what data you’re collecting and ways to automate that process before moving onto anything overly complicated.

If you find yourself moving to a stage where you’re starting to rely on this data being collected consistently, you should also start thinking about monitoring your data collection. There’s little worse in an industrial setting than going to check on some essential data, only to realise your device hasn’t been collecting data for two weeks because of a simple fault. Data monitoring can stop this scenario from happening, by letting you know when something goes wrong when it happens. Our remote monitoring platform, SentiLAN™, is perfect for this- and much more. Click here to learn more about monitoring your data to reduce downtime.

Industry 4.0 is about incremental gains. Make sure to be patient, and carefully listen to the data you're producing. Before long you’ll be making data-driven decisions without having to rely on solely gut feel, and you’ll be raring to get going with bigger projects. 

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