New technologies and new ways of working are transforming the nature of work and reshaping the Australian and global economies. Automation is now moving beyond routine manufacturing activities and has the potential, at least with regard to technical feasibility, to transform sectors that involve a substantial share of knowledge work. Developments in artificial intelligence, 3-D printing, unprecedented computer power, the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data, are underpinned by a number of major technologies which will change the nature of the link between technology and work.
The current trend of improved automation, machine-to-machine and human-to-machine communication, artificial intelligence, continued technological improvements and digitalisation in manufacturing is known as Industry 4.0 or the ‘fourth industrial revolution’.
Businesses need to stay informed and respond to the opportunities and challenges that this transformation will bring.
Ai Group is taking a leading role in assisting businesses to assess and respond to the wide-ranging implications of Industry 4.0 for technological and business model innovation; workforce planning; and skills development and retention.
Ai Group has collaborated with the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre (IMCRC) in the development of the futuremapTM survey and diagnostic tool. This has been specifically designed to assist Australian manufacturing SMEs to transform and future proof their business.
Industry 4.0 is rapidly transforming practices across businesses and industries. Digitalisation is breaking down barriers between sectors, eroding previous sources of competitive advantage and creating new markets and market competitors. Businesses must act and respond faster than ever before, all the while dealing with ambiguity and constant change. Identification and capture of the productivity potential of new technologies will be critical to businesses’ competitive advantage, as will collaboration across value chains. Manufacturing will become increasingly data-driven and the trend towards manufacturing businesses offering an ongoing service relationship beyond point of sale will intensify.
When everybody's job is likely to change to some degree, the characteristics of agility, resilience, and flexibility in people will be the key to successful organisations. Workers will need different skills, not just more skills. While some existing jobs may need to be reshaped, if adopted successfully and combined with positive organisational change and effective managerial practices, digital transformation itself will not necessarily be negative to the workforce.
Advancements in artificial intelligence, unprecedented computer power, the Internet of Things (IoT) and big data (among other technological progressions) are changing the nature of employment. While innovation may reduce labour demand in discrete industries and occupations, it also triggers a rise in labour demand in others. To remain competitive and sustainable, it is essential that businesses retain the ability to utilise the most efficient organisational structures and methods of organising work, including retaining the flexibility to engage the forms of labour needed to compete effectively with ‘digital disruptors’.
Industry 4.0 necessitates a re-evaluation of traditional workplace relations strategies. Businesses must consider how the shift in workplace form, function and demographics may call for an entirely different strategic workplace relations framework. Given the significant use of Enterprise Agreements within the manufacturing sector, businesses must also carefully consider the renegotiation of their agreements and consider opportunities for increasing flexibility in order to facilitate a new generation of industrial processes and technologies.
It will be the most adaptable companies that will benefit the most from digitalisation. They will be able to thrive in complex, unpredictable digital environments.
Ai Group represents thousands of businesses of all sizes and covering many sectors, from manufacturing to construction, defence, labour hire, medical technology, communications and more. On behalf of our members we actively seek to influence the policy of government and regulators.
Confused by the jargon? You are not alone. Our glossary can help you to decode the terminology.
Ai Group is engaged in delivery of digital thought leadership events, including peer-to-peer forums, webinars and other activities including on Industry 4.0:
WoodTECH 2018 – 11 Sept 2018
Keynote: Innes Willox, Chief Executive Officer, Ai Group
Industry 4.0: Setting the scene for Australia's manufacturing future
Online Event: Berin Lautenbach, Chief Information Security Officer, Telstra
Australia-Israel Chamber of Commerce/EY Productivity Forum – 3 Nov 2017
Keynote: Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox
Read AICC Report