Industry 4.0 provokes much discussion with little understanding. If you listen to the experts, strategic planning is dead – at least in the traditional sense. For years, strategic planning centered on defining and setting a concrete long-term strategy to meet the goals that would take our business to the next level.
Yet as far back as the 90s, leaders have predicted the death of planning. It’s fair to say the same criticism raised back then still rings true today: strategic planning is too rigid and simplistic. Strategic planning of the past represented a list of dreams – it failed because of its inability to predict the future, which inevitably led to its obsolescence. The new key is to focus on execution and flexibility – a responsive growth plan.
The importance and relevance of linking workforce output, business outcomes and strategic risks to provide a holistic view of the ‘health’ of strategic execution. It’s without a doubt that Industry 4.0 is providing the framework for agile strategy within a business and strategic planning is not an isolated or annual event; it’s performed as a continual exercise.
Industry 4.0 digitizes and integrates processes vertically across the entire organization, from product development and purchasing, through to manufacturing, logistics, and services. Strategic decisions can no longer occur in a myopic context, and information silos spawn parochial behavior that defies corporate strategic intent. Business leaders who see only their slice of the pie will act in myopic ways. The antidote to this type of behavior is transparency across strategic planning and execution.
The rapid pace of digitization in industry today is a signal of sweeping change that is rapidly transforming many companies and may catch others by surprise. To take full advantage of the technological transformation you need to evolve and collaborate with others from initial concepts to installation. Industry 4.0 will be a huge boon to companies that fully understand what it means and will provide a framework for agile strategy.
Simon Lawrence,
Director, StrategyBlocks