By: Pete Schmidt, Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center

Manufacturing continues to evolve and advance at a rapid pace. As some are keeping up by incorporating new innovations and practices into facilities, other more reluctant companies are quickly falling behind. And while manufacturers recognize Industry 4.0 will have a significant impact in the coming years, many are struggling to identify appropriate opportunities for implementation or access the required technologies. 

With this in mind, it is clear that manufacturers – especially smaller companies – require additional guidance for approaching the Fourth Industrial Revolution. To help Michigan manufacturers successfully prepare for such implementations, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) recently launched its Industry 4.0 Signature Initiative.

Created in partnership with Automation Alley and the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (The Center), the MEDC’s Industry 4.0 Signature Initiative aims to connect Michigan manufacturers of all sizes to opportunities, resources and services that will foster Industry 4.0 preparedness, ultimately supporting continued business growth. 

Industry 4.0 will undoubtedly change the way we manufacture not just in Michigan, but around the world. Due to the manufacturing legacy and prowess embedded in our state’s identity, Michigan is positioned to be a leader in Industry 4.0 implementation and advanced manufacturing practices. The MEDC’s awareness campaign serves to ensure Michigan businesses are prepared not just to survive, but thrive in this next stage of innovation.

As stated above, manufacturers are admittedly struggling to both identify opportunities for technology adoption in their facilities and to access desired technologies. In each of these ways, The Center’s experts can help.

The Center’s two-hour Technology Opportunity Assessment helps small and mid-sized manufacturers identify opportunities for improvement within their facilities, often aided by the adoption of technology. At no cost, this hands-on, personalized assessment essentially provides manufacturers with their own custom roadmap for navigating Industry 4.0. Recommendations for implementation are relevant and affordable, with calculations for Return on Investment (ROI) included to demonstrate how each improvement could positively impact operations. Additionally, with expertise in project management, The Center also can help establish an adoption strategy, scope the project, align suppliers with vetted resources and manage implementations to ensure success at each step of the process.

Industry 4.0 may still be intimidating to some, but manufacturers do not need to approach this next stage of innovation alone. Through the Industry 4.0 Signature Initiative, Michigan manufacturers can find the resources and help they need to successfully transition their operations to the factory of tomorrow – and ensure their businesses don’t get left behind.

Learn more about how The Center can assist with your technology implementations at The-Center.org or contact us at inquiry@the-center.org. Learn more about the MEDC’s Industry 4.0 Signature Initiative here

Pete Schmidt is a Business Solutions Manager at the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center. Operating directly out of Sterling Heights, Pete provides services and support to small and medium-size manufacturers in the region to enable them to compete, grow and prosper.