The term Industry 4.0 was coined by the German government in the year 2011 to make their industries more competitive (Thoben et al. 2017). It is a collection of various technologies like additive manufacturing, IoT, CPS, data analytics, and augmented/virtual reality (Mittal et al. 2017).
The advent of Industry 4.0 has started changing the dynamics of how operational activities are conducted in an organization. For example, the traditional manufacturing processes like machining and casting have been replaced with additive manufacturing. A jewelry manufacturing firm in north-western part of India has started using 3D-printed molds, replacing the traditional method of producing hand-made casted molds (Mittal et al. 2019). This has resulted into creation of more complex designs that were not feasible earlier and reduction in finishing time thus reducing the total production time of the jewelry. Similarly, it has reduced the time spent in quality inspection of product and minimized wastage that happened due to the production of hand-made molds. In another case, a modular kitchen manufacturing facility located in the NCR area of India started using a tab-based configurator to assemble the different parts of a modular kitchen manufacturing (Mittal et al. 2019). With the help of the configurator (based on AR/VR technology) they were able to reduce the number of ECNs (engineering change notes) from 130 to 12 and reduce the total production time that was required to produce and assemble a modular kitchen.
From the above two examples it is evident that Industry 4.0 technologies are going to create a lasting impact on the way operational activities, such as product design, product development, supply chain management, scheduling, maintenance, inventory management, quality control and inspection shall be carried out. These technologies are also going to bring about a change in location and layout strategies. Therefore, future managers must have a firm understanding of the application of these technologies.
Institute of Management (IM) at JK Lakshmipat University (JKLU), Jaipur (India) has already undertaken significant steps in this direction. Students in various management programmes at the University are essentially exposed to such new-age technologies wherein the focus is not to make them master technocrats but to develop in them, a business sense of these technologies. This is done through case studies on successful implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies in various industries. Students discuss and learn through cases about the nuances of implementing these technologies that also prepares them better for the job-market of times to come.
Dr. Sameer Mittal, Institute of Management, JKLU