Understanding Quality 4.0 and its importance means first understanding Industry 4.0 with regard to quality processes and technology.

So, what exactly is Industry 4.0?

The term Industry 4.0 has been around for over a decade and in recent years has defined the standards for which the “fourth industrial revolution,” is based.

Industry 4.0 refers to the trend towards automation and data exchange in manufacturing technologies and processes. This includes cyber-physical systems (CPS), IoT (internet of things), cloud computing, cognitive computing, and artificial intelligence (AI).

First introduced at the German Hannover Fair in 2011, the concept of Industry 4.0 became a globally accepted term around 2016. Utilizing a fully integrated, collaborative manufacturing system allows smart factories to boost productivity. The idea of expanding production while saving time and money is not a new concept, but new developments in technology have changed the path to smart manufacturing.

How does Industry 4.0 relate to Quality 4.0?

According to the American Society for Quality (ASQ) “Quality 4.0 is a term that references the future of quality within the context of Industry 4.0.”

Quality professionals play a critical role in leading their organizations to apply proven quality disciplines to new, digital, disruptive technologies.

The Ecosystem of Quality 4.0 Tools

What Steps Should Quality Professionals Take to Ensure Quality 4.0 Success?

The easiest way for quality decision makers to ensure Quality 4.0 success is to apply the following initiatives to the Industry 4.0 technologies mentioned above.

  • Improve human intelligence.
  • Increase the speed and quality of decision making.
  • Improve transparency, traceability, and auditability.
  • Anticipate changes, reveal biases, and adapt to new circumstances and knowledge.
  • Evolve relationships, organizational boundaries, and concept of trust to reveal opportunities for continuous improvement and new business models.
  • Learn how to learn by cultivating self-awareness and other awareness as skills.

Where to Begin?

A recent Quality 4.0 study done by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and ASQ suggests that with regard to implementing Quality 4.0 initiatives, businesses need to start fast and design for scale. They recommend taking these five steps:

  1. Identify your pain points. Where are your process and procedures issues?
  2. Analyze opportunities around these pain points and then prioritize them—where do you think you’re going to get the most value with some of these new technologies?
  3. Define and implement on a small scale—at headquarters via dashboards, at a pilot plant, etc.
  4. See if you get proof of concept and return of investment.
  5. If yes, take your detailed roadmap and go to scale, implementing the initiative across the entire organization.

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