A disruption in business has come to refer to “disruptive innovation”, rather than the disturbance of normal operations. It means creating a new market and value network that disrupts—and eventually replaces—the old. Disruptive innovation tends to be thought of on a large scale and is arguably the most revolutionary aspect of Industry 4.0.
Explore the possibilities of untapped markets when you leverage these emerging technologies to create innovative new processes.
The explosion in connected assets enables manufacturers to engage in data-driven design, similar to how software is developed. With users’ consent, embedded industrial internet of things (IIoT) sensors can send real-world usage data back to the manufacturer, to be factored into future designs. Qualitative user feedback can be translated into quantitative engineering terms that can also be incorporated into prototypes. Data-driven design uses this real-word use data to ensure your customer’s needs are met. Aside from informing basic decisions, the data may demonstrate that certain parts wear out faster in certain climates, or that a certain sub-sector uses the machinery in a different way. Armed with this data, you can produce products that more precisely match your users’ needs and ultimately exceed their expectations. The evolution of products and services over time influenced by the consumer data will contribute to a major disruption in business.
Augmented reality (AR) can transform the user experience in two major areas that will set your business apart: sales and marketing, and service. From a marketing perspective, AR can be used to demonstrate a product in the customer’s own environment. In-context video and 3D content can display features more intuitively than written content and images so the customer can see how it will fit in with the surroundings.
AR content can be bundled with products—especially industrial products—to better explain how to perform complex processes. Further down the line, it can offer immersive step-by-step servicing guidance, empowering customers to perform simple repairs themselves, without having to wait for a technician to be dispatched. This will save the customer the cost of unexpected machine downtime while keeping up productivity. The process of augmented reality add-on can provide significant value to the product itself
Service is fast becoming a major revenue stream for manufacturers with predictive maintenance capabilities. Rather than react to customer service requests—dispatching technicians and supply spare parts only when something is already broken—manufacturers can alert customers that servicing is required before a problem even presents itself. By using machine learning and real-time condition monitoring compared to historical data, manufacturers can anticipate faults from out-of-spec behavior and automate the supply chain and service tickets required to proactively fix it.
With this technique, the most disruptive manufacturers are beginning to adopt product-as-a-service or machine-as-a-service models, where the customer leases the equipment on an outcome-based contract, rather than buying it outright. The customer gets more value—by virtue of better performing equipment, with near-zero downtime—and the manufacturer gets regular, predictable revenue, rather than discrete, ad-hoc transactions.
Digital manufacturing solutions can scale to meet your business goals as you continue to disrupt, innovate, and grow. Ensure that your business is operating at maximum efficiency by connecting all industrial assets, people, and processes. Empowered by the analytics enabled by the IIoT, PTC clients have seen overall operating efficiency increase by 50%, while also reducing downtime, and changeover times. Each of these serves as a competitive differentiator that will bring your business one step closer to disrupting new markets. Further gains can be made by digitizing your supply chain, implementing PLM software, and utilizing augmented reality to merge together the digital and physical worlds. Adopting all these digital manufacturing technologies can result in enormous efficiency gains across the enterprise—multiplied by higher levels of integration.
A disruptive innovation doesn’t have to alter an entire sector. Industry 4.0 technologies present a wealth of opportunities for manufacturers to have an impact on their niche market. The earlier you embrace these opportunities, the more advantage they will deliver. As you become fluent in digital manufacturing techniques, you will begin to apply them more creatively, to provide your customers continuously value in new and unique ways.