Success personified in the fourth industrial revolution

Industry 4.0: Preparedness through societal, strategic, technological, and workforce dimensions

Of the many insights uncovered in this year’s report— which covers more than 2,000 C-suite executives across 19 countries—one seems to stand out: The number of respondents who insisted they are doing “all they could” to prepare their workforces for Industry 4.0 fell by nearly half. Knowing that business leaders are unwilling to take their collective foot off the pedal, this likely means that many executives have gained a much deeper understanding of Industry 4.0, are increasingly aware of the challenges before them, and view the actions needed to succeed in Industry 4.0 more realistically.

This year we asked executives how they enable their organisations to succeed in the age of Industry 4.0

Societal impact Executives expressed a genuine commitment to improve the world. Executives in last year’s survey were uncertain about how they could influence the direction of Industry 4.0 and its impact on society. This year’s research finds executives and their companies strongly committed to improve the world through Industry 4.0. Many insisted that it simply makes good business sense.
Strategy Executives struggle to develop effective strategies in today’s rapidly changing markets. Last year, many leaders saw their organisations focused more on developing new products and services and improving productivity than on adopting new business models or technologies. This year, they told us about some of the organisational roadblocks that appear to be limiting effective Industry 4.0 strategies.
Technology Leaders continue to focus more on using advanced technologies to protect their positions than on making bold investments to drive disruption. Last year, executives exhibited a cautious mindset when it came to investing in technology. Again, this year, few expressed a commitment to disrupt their competitors or markets.
Talent The skills challenge becomes clearer, but so do differences between executives and their millennial workforces. The breadth of the skills gap is more evident to leaders compared with last year, as is a sobering awareness that the current education system will be inadequate to meet the challenge.

Summary: Faces of progress

  • A commitment to doing good. All are highly attuned to using Industry 4.0 technologies in an ethical manner. For many, this has resulted in societydriven products that have created new revenue streams.
  • Clearer vision of the path forward. They are purposeful and methodical in setting Industry 4.0 strategies. Their companies follow clearly defined processes and use data to make decisions, more so than other companies.
  • Long-term lens on technology investments. In addition to achieve incremental gains for short-term initiatives, these leaders are more likely than others to invest in Industry 4.0 technologies to disrupt their markets.
  • Taking the lead on workforce development. They embrace the opportunity to extensively train their existing employees. Further, they are more confident that their organisations already possess the correct workforce composition for the future.
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