Industry 4.0July 16, 2018 - 4 min read 🍵🍵🍵
The convenience of processing tasks online and using technology has really made me think about our current trend, Industry 4.0. The term coined to be the upcoming trend focusing on automation and data exchange.
With recent news, we see a lot of people lose their jobs because of automation. RBC reduced their floor footprint by 20% which ultimately led to 500 job cuts¹. Manulife announced that they are reducing their workforce by about 700 people². The job cuts are a direct result of companies restructuring its operations via automation.
You’ll probably come across a product of industry 4.0 near your local grocery store with those self-checkouts and even in fast food restaurants. We have less human operated cashiers, we see more computer assisted driving being featured in the automotive industry and more AI assistance in homes (Google and Alexa).
Industry 4.0 affects the transformation of manufacturing where companies invest more in automation of their processes. The company I work for put large emphasis in their focus on technology. We need to bring automation in our manufacturing plants because they can be much more effective in reducing labour cost. As a result, we can be more competitive and pass on savings to attract our customers. Since this large trend of automation is prevalent, companies must adapt to remain relevant, otherwise, they will not survive this shift to Industry 4.0.
What does it mean for us?
For consumers, we benefit the most out of using these services. The convenience of online banking, submitting insurance claims online, ordering food straight from our phones etc, has made life much easier by allowing us to access these services with the tip of our fingertips. Having the ability to tell Google or Alexa to turn off your lights is a godsend, especially when you’re in bed during the cold winter and you’re too comfortable to go get up and turn off the lights (yes me being extremely lazy — but this is a huge step forward for those who are physically unable to do these simple tasks). As mentioned earlier, if companies can reduce the cost of their products or services they can potentially pass on the savings to their customers by charging less for the service.
As for the workers, it is the fear of losing their jobs. We are replacing jobs quicker than we can provide them and with machines and technology growing so fast, people are concerned that there will be nothing left for us to do. However, the unemployment by technology also creates employments in other fields that deal with creating automation. I truly believe that this is key to staying relevant, especially as a young individual like myself.I keep my eye closely on the trend and job market. It is important to adapt and learn skills to be able to keep up.
Perhaps we will see an increase in demand for skilled-trade jobs. There are a lot of speciality jobs that computers can’t automate such as an electrician, plumbers, hairstylist, chefs and many more. Not every job will be automated, but it could definitely benefit from computer assisted technology.
Companies are seizing the opportunity to go digital and they must adapt with the Industry 4.0 to be able to achieve sustainability from the customer demands and their competition. Being able to capitalize technological innovation will be the greatest driver of success for a company to survive this fast pace market. With that being said, this is one of the best times to live as technology advances.