Industry 4.0 vs Lean Manufacturing
Industry 4.0 is a very hot topic among people working in factory enterprise at the moment. This industrial movement has never been so popular after it was first introduced in 2011. Since the advantages of Industry 4.0 have been passed on to the general public information more and more companies are trying to explore the possibilities of implementing the ideas behind this movement in their operations.
Many companies work already with lean manufacturing or lean management, a concept which a core idea revolves around increasing productivity and reducing cost of operation at the same time. The questions are whether factories that already use lean should switch to Industry 4.0? Maybe both systems could work simultaneously? What about businesses that just started to think about implementing a method that will help them cut unnecessary costs, which system should they choose?
Just a quick reminder
Industry 4.0 is a method first introduced in Germany in 2011. This is a quite new concept which is still being developed. The idea behind Industry 4.0 (otherwise known as smart factory) is to use modern technologies to improve manufacturing processes. In the ideal world, all machines in factory should on its own connect with one another through Internet or internal network system passing information regarding order specifications. Such work should be faster and more cost- effective.
Lean manufacturing is a much older concept. It was created in Japan around late 1980. Famous Toyota factories are considered as a birthplace of this idea, thus alternatively it’s called The Toyota Way. The basic notion of lean is to reduce waste, increase productivity and customer satisfaction. Although this movement was created for the purposes of improving factory’s operations, lean can be adopted by any business or service.
Can Lean and Industry 4.0 work together?
Both concepts can work together at some level. Although there are experts who point out that in some areas there might be a clash between both concepts. We must remember, though, that Lean and Industry 4.0 work on a different plane but their idea is alike: both seek higher effectiveness of the company at lower cost (which doesn’t mean lower standards!). Lean handles processes where Industry 4.0 deals with software and advanced technologies. As rightfully Stefanie Peitzker points out in her article, “Lean production meets Industry 4.0”, any factory wanting to explore possibilities of implementing Industry 4.0 in their processes must first have some production system established. Stefanie suggests working with a rule in mind “first process maturity, then Industry 4.0”.
Also, when deciding to take on the current trend which is Industry 4.0 it is crucial to look for professionals that could help bring set ideas to life. It is at most importance that such people have knowledge of manufacturing strategies. Software engineers who are hired to design a network should, in particular, have lean production knowledge and Industry 4.0 knowledge.
 Source: http://blog.bosch-si.com/categories/manufacturing/2016/06/lean-meets-industry-4-0/