Many industrial companies are embracing digital transformation and turning smart through the adoption of technologies such as advanced robotics, the Internet of Things, augmented and virtual reality, blockchain, machine learning and Artificial Intelligence. But it remains hard for many of them to understand whether they are on track with Industry 4.0 best practices, or whether their technology investment would generate relevant returns.
Measuring the Industry 4.0 maturity is the specific goal of the index developed by German consortium acatech, aimed at providing systematic guidelines for businesses improving their digital infrastructures. The index does not limit to technological progress, but considers the achievements in four structural areas, specifically assets and resources, information systems, organisational structure, and corporate culture.
This approach allows to assess the Industry 4.0 maturity as a six-step journey:
- Computerisation, for companies fully handling IT and process automation;
- Connectivity, when key equipment and components are connected, but the integration between information and operational technologies has not been completed yet;
- Visibility, when companies start to use sensors for real-time recording of conditions and processes;
- Transparency, once businesses are able to analyse and interpret the recorded data in the relevant contexts by applying engineering knowledge;
- Predictive capacity, for industrial environments where future scenarios can be simulated and evaluated in terms of likelihood and impact, feeding decision marking;
- Adaptability, when IT systems can take independent decisions and trigger actions automatically and without delay.
Application of the Industry 4.0 Maturity Index helps companies not only to measure their current state of digitalisation, but also to identify gaps to be bridged, and define the roadmap to build up necessary capabilities, competences and tools.