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Automation Alley – Industry 4.0 Implementation

Automation Alley, Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center and the World Economic Forum’s Advanced Manufacturing Hub (AMHUB) for North America, announced the 2020 Technology in Industry Report, its signature guide to Industry 4.0 implementation, is now available to download. The report’s key findings were introduced at a virtual reveal on July 13, led by Automation Alley Executive Director and CEO Tom Kelly, Chief Operating Officer Pavan Muzumdar, and Vice President Cynthia Hutchison.

The event explored what the report information means for industry moving forward and how companies can position themselves for success as the smart and connected technologies of Industry 4.0 impact how business is done. Also provided was an analysis on the report’s Velocity Index™, a visualization of the perceptions of the maturity, importance, and projected rate of development of each of the Industry 4.0 technology sectors as they impact manufacturing and similar verticals.

“It is important to note that this report was produced during the worst pandemic we have seen in our lifetimes,” Tom Kelly said. “As painful and traumatic as the coronavirus experience has been, there are many lessons to be learned from this crisis. This report touches on those lessons from an Industry 4.0 standpoint. As our economy is healing from the shock, all business owners and executives must take stock of their own preparedness and put in place initiatives to overlay a digital mindset on their physical businesses.”

Key findings in the report:
1.    Education and training at all levels will impact how each industry, and each company, will affect the pace and success of Industry 4.0 technology adoption. Executive teams with only a cursory understanding of these technologies is past. Participants in Industry 4.0—from high-level executives to boots on the ground— must have a proficient understanding of the digital transformation, how it can be used to demonstrate ROI, and a strategic approach to change management to be successful.
2.    Collaboration will impact the adoption of Industry 4.0. In a world of manufacturers who are used to cut-throat competition and a strategy of isolationism, a shift must be made for more open collaboration with others within and outside the industry. With a reasonable amount of transparency and collaboration, manufacturers will benefit from more rapid Industry 4.0 adoption.
3.    No matter where an organization is at along their Industry 4.0 transformation journey, the recommendation from our research is to:

  • Start your Industry 4.0 transformation now. If you have not already, start with baby steps.
  • Have a strategy in place and include real accountability in your plan. Make a point to focus on learning.
  • Be persistent. This is a long-term investment that may not always look like it’s yielding benefits; but make small bets to stay the course and continue on the journey.
  • Accept risk. Innovative thinking and action should be met with support and encouragement. Consider incentives to drive innovative behaviors, and make sure that for each risk taken, there is always an educational return – even if there may not be a monetary one.

The Technology in Industry report is a free benefit for Automation Alley members and $95 for non-members. It can be accessed at

Along with the report, which was first published in 2005 as a tool for business planning and tech talent attraction, Automation Alley launched Industry 4.0 in Focus: A Livestream Series, during the virtual reveal. The livestream series, with the reveal being episode 1, will include weekly, 30-minute episodes leading up to the Integr8 Industry 4.0 conference on Nov. 10 and will focus on different Industry 4.0 technology trends, case studies and action items from the report; they will be presented by the report’s contributing academic experts, strategic partners and industry leaders. Looking at emerging technology trends impacting people, processes, and technology now and in the near future, each session will propose action items for businesses to consider when developing their own digital transformations and will include:

  • The Rise of Artificial Intelligence in Manufacturing
  • 5G: A Manufacturing Game-Changer
  • Opportunities & Challenges of IT & OT Convergence
  • The Impact of Big Data Analytics on Supply Chain Management
  • Accelerating Industry 4.0 with Digital Twin
  • Additive Manufacturing’s Disruptive Impact on the Supply Chain
  • How Industry 4.0 Transforms Data Regulation & Protection
  • Industry 4.0 Case Studies: Technology & Workforce Transformation

“As smart and connected technologies rapidly transform the way we do business, Automation Alley’s goal is to help keep businesses in business by equipping organizations with the necessary knowledge to leverage the intersections of advanced technologies, systems and people to gain a competitive advantage,” Kelly said. “The report and the Industry 4.0 in Focus livestream series can jumpstart or accelerate industry on that digital path to strategic success.”

Separately, on June 30 Kelly announced that Automation Alley is the recipient of a $10 million grant from Oakland County and $2 million grant from Macomb County to help each county’s manufacturing base purchase and implement Industry 4.0 technologies that can be used in direct support of manufacturing Personal Protection Equipment (PPE). Information on the Personal Protection Equipment Resilience Grant and the application for manufacturers can be found at

About Automation Alley
Automation Alley is the World Economic Forum’s Advanced Manufacturing Hub (AMHUB) for North America and a nonprofit Industry 4.0 knowledge center with a global outlook and a regional focus. We facilitate public-private partnerships by connecting industry, education and government to fuel Michigan’s economy and accelerate innovation. Our programs give businesses a competitive advantage by helping them along every step of their digital transformation journey. We obsess over disruptive technologies like AI, the Internet of Things and automation, and work hard to make these complex concepts easier for companies to understand and implement. Visit

The mission of Automation Alley is to position Michigan as a global leader in Industry 4.0 by helping our members increase revenue, reduce costs and think strategically during a time of rapid technological change.


Automation Alley 2020
Automation Alley 2020 Technology Report Industry 4.0

SOURCE Automation Alley

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