Index assesses maturity in Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0
Sheila Zabeu -

April 20, 2023

A survey conducted by Nokia and ABI Research with IT and OT leaders has established a Maturity Index for Industry 4.0 in five major industries. The goal is to show how industrial plants in the chemicals, metallurgy, petroleum, mining, electronics and appliances, heavy machinery, and ports and logistics segments are preparing to keep pace with the evolution of Industry 4.0 and also to create a benchmark for other companies to compare their digitization advances on the path toward the industrial metaverse.

With average scores of 66 points for technology maturity and 68.8 points for use case implementation maturity, on a scale going to 100, the responses showed that electronics and appliance manufacturers are leading the list with scores of 73.1 and 79.5, respectively.

Technology investments made by companies in this sector include the deployment of rugged worker devices and cloud warehouse management systems for supply chain and logistics. Digital technologies are being adopted to support preventive maintenance, data analysis, and the use of drones in industrial applications.

Other revelations of the study point out that the main drivers of digitization are the quest for optimizing workforce operations and security, with a score of 7.4 out of 10, and sustainability goals, with a score of 7.29.

Some details about investments and use cases revealed by the study by sector are:

  • Electronics and appliance manufacturers lead the way with investments in private 5G networks and edge computing to support data strategies.

  • Investments in campus and private 4G networks enable metallurgical plants to control equipment and operations. These investments will also allow you to meet customer demands and sustainability goals.

  • The alignment between IT and OT teams at oil producers will help them monitor emissions and use drones to maintain safety levels.

  • Chemical manufacturers are using data to comply with regulations, support customers, and optimize the workforce.

  • Port operators and logistics companies are lagging behind other industries when it comes to use cases such as Automated Guided Vehicles and Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs), and need to exploit their IT infrastructures.

  • Production issues are driving mining companies to consider investments in digital transformation. Investing in the digitalization of equipment should be a priority to support emissions monitoring.

  • Heavy machinery manufacturers must invest in the digitization of production machinery and in applications to better align IT and OT environments.

To complement the research, Nokia and ABI Research have developed a self-assessment benchmark tool that can be used to understand how to innovate and enhance digitization capabilities, taking into account important aspects such as security and automation.

“Nokia wants to simplify and accelerate digital transformation in various industries. The Industry 4.0 Maturity Index and the self-assessment tool will help industrial plants understand where they are and how to progress in this field. We are seeing investments increasing this year, and this is confirmed by our survey which shows that industries are, on average, getting closer to the goal of aligning IT and OT,” highlights Stephan Litjens, vice president of Enterprise Campus Edge business at Nokia.

What do industries and manufacturing (I&M) companies think?

Industries and manufacturing (I&M) companies are looking for a number of outcomes when considering investing in Industry 4.0 initiatives. The main focuses of attention are:

  • Improve the performance of machines, equipment, and other assets.
  • Improve the production line and operations.
  • Optimize the workforce and employee safety.
  • Increase the company’s agility to deal with market instabilities, political risks, and economic conditions.
  • Helping to achieve sustainability goals.

A diagram produced by the study shows that these focus attention with the average score given by the respondents.

To address the reasons that are driving companies to implement Industry 4.0 initiatives, the survey asked whether digital transformation projects originated externally or were more influenced by internal concerns or goals. The answers were presented by the study in the following chart.

And, to find out what companies are thinking about investing in, a continuous scale from 0 to 10 points was used. At one extreme, the answer indicates that there are no plans to invest in technology in the foreseeable future (0); at the other extreme (10), the answer indicates that new technological iterations are under study. The responses take into account budgets allocated to each area of IT infrastructure over the next 12 months and whether technologies have already been implemented in the applicable facilities. The following chart shows the median scores for each area of IT investment.

The study also addressed what pitfalls throughout digital transformation projects are hindering investments and delivery of results. Several factors related to people, policies, and technologies were pointed out, but lack of alignment between IT and OT teams remains the top barrier. Of equal importance is the lack of internal expertise. Another barrier is employees’ fear of being replaced by technology and losing their jobs. Cybersecurity concerns prevent investments from being made.