How To Build a Roadmap To Industry 4.0


Roadmap: In the case of such a complex change as the transformation to industry 4.0, it is worth paying attention to the attitudes of key managers for the company. The following, most disturbing, observations emerge from the several hundred interviews we have carried out with managers of various sizes of manufacturing companies in Poland.

About 30% of the surveyed managers are not interested in the market environment and focus on current operational tasks. Their attitude is expressed in the words: “I have not heard. I have no time”. The second and most numerous group (45%) are managers who have encountered the idea of ​​Industry 4.0, most likely brought to the company by their colleagues, but for now, have too many current operational affairs. It is expressed in the words: “I heard. I have no time”. The third group (approx. 20%), already quite aware of managers, understands the opportunities and threats and works together on the concept. The statement: “I heard, I understand. We are working on the concept.” The fourth group is quite well prepared for the coming of the fourth revolution.

On the one hand, we have the involvement of managers in the launch of investment programs and the strategic foundation of the initiative; on the other hand – the involvement of teams in conceptual and implementation work. It is a small group – about 5% of companies. In Poland, in practice, these are branches of international production groups with German, Italian or Scandinavian capital. The attitude can be illustrated by the words: “We have a road map. We are starting our first projects”. Below we indicate what such a roadmap should look like.

Step 1. Self-reflection – where are we?

Once we convince the managers, it is worth answering the question: “Where are we on the way to industry 4.0?”. This is best illustrated by the example of a manufacturing company that wants to build a roadmap in the area of ​​the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT). From the operational director’s point of view, the key business processes may be production management and production improvement, quality management, maintenance management, materials, and warehouse management. We define three levels of the IIoT architecture for these business processes. The first level is automatic data collection (from machines and devices). Is the data collected automatically? The second level is access to analyzes and reports from anywhere, at any time. Am I able to use reports and place them on the device at any time? The third level is business applications with notifications. Does the system notify me of events only in situations requiring intervention?

Step 2. Strategic goal and vision

The process of building a roadmap for Industry 4.0 initiatives worth implementation should begin with setting / verifying the strategic goal and vision for the company. This is a key stage without which you shouldn’t go any further. In a situation where goals and KPIs have already been defined, it is worth considering which of the Industry 4.0 technologies can significantly help in achieving them. If such goals are not set, you can use, for example, strategic initiatives that reflect the nature of our market and the way we operate, for example, Asset Performance Management, Lean Manufacturing, Real-Time Enterprise, World Class Manufacturing, etc.

An example target for an industry 4.0 project may be implementing the Real-Time Enterprise initiative, the end product of which will be an analysis of “Profitability of an online production plant” and a report for the managing director.

Step 3. Key business processes

After setting the strategic goal, it is worth considering which business processes are key to achieving it and selecting 4-5 of them, those that will be subject to development or improvement. These may be the processes indicated in step 1 above for a manufacturing company. Self-reflection.

Step 4. Key industry 4.0 initiatives

The next stage that should be carried out together with the entire team (for example, managers) is brainstorming to identify key Industry 4.0 initiatives. Importantly, initiatives should concern technology and areas such as processes and the development of people (teams).

Step 5. Implementation plan

The final stage of the roadmap work is to prioritize initiatives and build an implementation plan to identify response teams and funding sources.


The above-described model of building a roadmap for industry 4.0 for the IIoT area contains many simplifications and should be modified for each company and adapted to its realities. However, it gives an idea that starting and carrying out the transformation process to industry 4.0 requires a very high awareness and motivation of managers and engineers working in the organization.

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