Industry 4.0 is a concept that has been driving conversations in manufacturing circles for over a decade. However, it’s definition can be so wide-reaching that it can often refer to a range of ideas. As TechRadar puts it, it’s the name given to, “the growing combination of traditional manufacturing and industrial platforms and practices with the latest smart technology.” In other words, the manufacturing industry is currently in an old-school-meets-new-school kind of moment. 

Since the advent of connectivity, the acquisition and transmission of data has propelled advancement in corporate strategy, processes, supply chains and product development significantly. As factories become increasingly automated, employers are continually having to rethink their answer to the question, “Where does human talent fit into our industry?” 

What Industry 4.0 Means in the 2020s

To start, employers have spent the better part of a decade witnessing this steady transformation of the industry. Now, the impact is undeniable. In their 2021 Industry 4.0 Study, the MPI Group reported that now nearly all manufacturing executives state that the concept is important to their companies, with 61 percent saying it is already a competitive differentiator and another 37 percent saying it will be soon.   

The ways in which Industry 4.0 has stitched itself into the fabric of manufacturing are far reaching. From quality and inspection, materials management, factory intelligence, IoT devices and process improvements, the applications are widespread.  With the onset and impact of COVID-19, the topic has also found its way to the lips of supply chain and EHS professionals as safety, localization and reshoring continue to drive decisions in 2022.  

The Race for (Human) Talent

Today, there is no avoiding the fact that there is a skills gap in the manufacturing industry. Before we go on worrying about how artificial intelligence, machine learning and the rising robot workforce will take over the world and declare the fifth industrial revolution, it is important to note the role this fourth industrial revolution has played in hiring in the manufacturing sector. The need for engineers and technicians to plan, design, program, build and maintain new technology is greater than ever before. The subsets of unique engineering disciplines continue to grow as more specialized attention is required to deliver more advanced projects. This coupled with the lack of accessibility to the right candidate is causing major pains for organizations across the United States. 

Simply put, they need people.

The Current Manufacturing Revolution

Employers who are looking to automate their way out of the current race for talent in the manufacturing industry are making a critical mistake. If the Great Resignation has taught us anything, it’s that people are the most valuable asset for any workforce. As technological advances change the way we work, it’s the human beings behind these ideas that are sparking the revolution.

Is your organization looking to build the right team with the combination of technical and soft skills needed to succeed in the world of Industry 4.0? Click here to learn how Medix Engineering + Construction delivers the full-time, contract, and contract-to-hire talent you need to deliver projects efficiently and effectively.

Matt Davison Medix Engineering
Matthew Davison is a Talent Consultant with Medix Engineering + Construction, focused on supporting sales and recruitment for teams specializing in manufacturing skills sets.