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Machine Operator using FourJaw Machine monitoring to look at machine downtime reasons
David RobertsonFeb 4, 2021 1:30:00 PM2 min read

How Industry 4.0 technology helped manufacturers Pivot the Pandemic

Much food for thought for manufacturers in a new McKinsey report into the impact of the pandemic on their operations. A survey of 400 firms across the world revealed that 94% said Industry 4.0 technologies had helped keep their shopfloors running during the crisis, while 56% said these technologies are critical to their ability to weather the crisis.

While many firms are using the slowdown to accelerate their adoption of data-driven technologies, others are putting the foot firmly on the brake, citing a range of challenges, including access difficulties due to lockdowns and the introduction of remote working, cash constraints, and teams being diverted to other urgent issues. ­

This is a mistake, according to the McKinsey report, which concludes the: “best option for most companies is to focus on their digital efforts, targeting the most strategically important opportunities and aiming to achieve real scale at an accelerated pace.”

We couldn’t agree more. Now is the time to pivot to data.

But how to do it without stumbling or taking a wrong turn? Even the most technically brilliant of manufacturers – and the UK is blessed with many of these – can find it a daunting challenge, given the bewildering array of technologies on the market and the often significant cost and pain of undertaking the ‘digital transformation' of their business.

FourJaws’ approach to this dilemma is a technology that is easily accessible, adaptable and affordable. It is built around the needs and drivers of the firm, not the dictates of the technology. It cuts through the noise to reveal the business-critical information the firm needs to understand how to maximise the productivity of their machines.

But don’t just take our word for it. Here is Steve Corbett, Production Director at Durham-Duplex:

“I realised quickly that the FourJaw software would be a powerful tool to drive improved utilisation in bottleneck areas and it could deliver improved ROI as well as improved customer experience through reduced lead times. The automated monitoring software is also a great fit with our vision of a customer-focused, high quality, highly productive manufacturing outfit that maximises our machinery and labour utilisation.”

CNC Machine Operator using FourJaw Machine monitoring dashboard
Manufacturer, Durham Duplex using the FourJaw  Industry 4.0 machine monitoring platform

We believe that, by combining the UK’s technical excellence in manufacturing (quality) with world-beating productivity improvements, UK manufacturers (responsible for 45% of all UK exports) will not only weather the pandemic, but emerge stronger and more competitive. However, as the McKinsey report indicates, to maintain and strengthen its manufacturing base the UK needs to combine technical excellence with productivity; as China, which is already experiencing resurgent growth, is doing just that.

With more than half the 400 firms surveyed thinking it could be between six and 24 months before their business and its supply fully recover from the impact of the pandemic, McKinsey’s view that industry should use this period to focus on a strategic digital investment: in the case of Durham Duplex it has already led to a five-fold reduction on non-cutting times.

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David Robertson

David is currently the Digital Marketing Manager at FourJaw. David has a background in marketing and data analytics having worked for a number of ISPs and technology companies during his career to date. At FourJaw David blends his analytics capabilities with his passion for creating and delivering engaging user-focused digital experiences.