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Industry 4.0 – crises, data and intelligence

General data dream factory software trends
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Sometimes industry trends can be a little tiresome (pardon the pun). Not the trends themselves, but the buzzwords associated with them – such as big data, the IoT and Industry 4.0. What hides behind these terms and what did 2020 teach tire industry leaders about what we can expect over the next few years?

Last year taught us a huge amount, with many companies forced to make changes that would have been harder to make in more certain times. In many cases, the pandemic accelerated the pace of change that was long overdue.

The tire business has not changed significantly in decades, but the global crisis has made the industry react and eliminate some of its inefficiencies. Some of these changes are just common sense and some – like rationalization of capacity, better use of data and faster decision making – are necessary to thrive.

Data-driven management

The IoT, big data and Industry 4.0 have been bandied about for some years now, but 2020 revealed the true value of intelligence and data-driven management in business. In uncharted waters, data analytics has proven to be a vital navigational tool.

Having timely access to the right data helps companies to react more quickly to changes in the business environment. But meaningful data alone is not enough, you need decision-makers to act on it. Management needs to be agile in order to react quickly. Ideally changes are made before they are needed, proactively rather than reactively.

When business as usual is so severely disrupted, making reliable predictions is almost impossible, and arguably an unnecessary waste of resources due to all the variables. The pandemic has shown that it is the combination of access to good data and the willingness both to analyze it until its meaning is understood and act on it, that secures competitive advantage for a business.

So, intelligence – interpreting data accurately and acting on its insights – is what puts the best above the rest. Agile companies with flexible management and professional governance are those that have flourished, or suffered the least.

Get ready for the future

Crises are generally viewed negatively. They distract organizations from their agendas – or even derail them – and set up new priorities. But when priorities and motivations change, it can force the corporate adrenaline to flow. Crises push change forward, increasing resilience and strengthening healthy organizations.

Tire manufacturers that not only utilize data in their strategic decision making, but also at an operational level in their plant to optimize machine integration, security and user safety, will gain maximum benefit from interoperability and achieve a faster return on investment.

Tomorrow could bring entirely new challenges. Many industry leaders believe the recovery will be digital, so it’s time to invest and reskill.

In uncharted waters, data analytics has proven to be a vital navigational tool.

Author Jukka-Pekka Akola

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