Manufacturing 4.0 — overcoming obstacles with digital connectivity

September 7, 2018by Françoise Henderson

The fourth industrial revolution is here and organizations need to make some pretty fundamental changes to remain competitive. Manufacturing 4.0 is the name given to the current trend of automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies. It’s taking automation to the next level with the Internet of Things (IoT) and the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), where vast amounts of information is collected and shared across a multitude of devices. Frankly, it’s a gamechanger for not just the industry, but the world too.

According to Zebra’s latest Manufacturing White Paper:

“Plant floor managers and executives can use real-time data to make critical business decisions that ultimately improve and expedite production. Artificial intelligence will play a large role in dissecting this data into useful information that will further automate the plant floor. […] A company’s investment [in IoT] should increase on-time production, and improve automation by eliminating unnecessary steps and equipment.”

Overall, this is great news, but the question still remains: how do separate departments, such as IT and Purchasing Agents, communicate effectively? The answer: do away with outmoded equipment in favour of a fully connected digital ecosystem that removes bottlenecks and links previously separated silos. The process is intensive, but there are ways to streamline and simplify without draining budgets and upending workflows.


Before adopting an IoT system, consider the following:

  • Security: a digital ecosystem is an entire infrastructure of connected devices that need to be secure. Organizations need to have contingencies in place to handle new equipment, security breaches, and the evolution of their IoT network
  • Legacy issues: one of the advantages of IoT is that it helps businesses pinpoint areas of improvement, such as legacy data management systems that hoard data in silos instead of sharing them across the network. It’s easier to solve a problem at the start of the process, even if the solution is a complete overhaul of an ancient system
  • Workforce drain: implementing Manufacturing 4.0 is tough, as a lot of legacy systems are linked to proprietary networks and need to be brought together into a cohesive network. A business-wide system upgrade will also have an effect on productivity, and staff might need additional training to use the network properly. This is why it’s imperative an organization looks for a system that’s easy to integrate; one that provides real-time connectivity so that teething issues are easy to identify and solve early on.
  • Budget: the integration of a completely new system comes with costs. As the IoT industry is still in its infancy, determining ROI is difficult. For a start, businesses should identify the perceived long-term benefits when budgeting for new devices and utilities.


How does the localization of Global Content fit into all of this?

IoT is going to change product development across the board because of the sheer magnitude of data it can handle. Where traditionally a release cycle could take months, IoT needs an agile approach as updates are happening in real-time, requiring a proactive language strategy. By including translation in the development cycle, an organization ensures its network of devices and mediums are truly designed to handle multilingual content and its collateral is ready to be quickly distributed internationally.

In the midst of this exciting connectivity revolution, the user mustn’t be forgotten. It’s important that IoT devices and apps are translated for their markets, including current slang and language trends. For example: an organization’s multimedia content will all need to be reconfigured for their respective markets.

A trusted Global Content Partner will have the skills and resources to analyze your business processes and make the right translation decisions for your business’s IoT. A Rubric specialist is ready to take your questions and help you and your business on the way to expertly managed Global Content. Get in touch!

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Françoise Henderson

Françoise Henderson

Françoise is co-founder of Rubric, overseeing worldwide operations and Global Content strategy. Under her guidance, Rubric has generated agile KPI-driven globalization workflows for clients and reduced time-to-market across multiple groups. Françoise has over 25 years’ experience in corporate management and translation.

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