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Author's profile photo Christoph Roller

Industry 4.0 for Life Sciences Industry Part 2

Whilst Part 1 of my blog was dealing with the strategic Industry 4.0 themes Intelligent Products and Intelligent Factories, Part 2 is focusing on the strategic Industry 4.0 themes Intelligent Assets and Empowered People.

Intelligent Assets

In many companies today, the actual asset health is unknown, and data is collected and handled in several silos. This leads to a significant amount of avoidable downtime and inefficiency. Often, the maintenance activities are not well aligned with manufacturing, leading to unused capacities or missed opportunities for high-priority orders. This is done by using the intelligent assets to evolve from reactive asset management to proactive data driven asset performance. Intelligent assets are linked to all processes and are dynamically maintained.

By installing intelligent equipment or adding intelligence to existing machinery they can:

  • Reduce downtime of equipment and thus increase operational asset performance
  • Track their industrial emissions and identify potential areas of improvement to become more sustainable

Empowered People

Develop the workforce to empowered people. To achieve this, companies provide real-time information to their people giving them data-driven decision support. So, they are always connected and informed. Empowered people are equipped with all the tools and information they need to do their best work. Although the degree of automation will increase further, people in the plant will continue to play an important role. Operators will fulfill tasks that cannot be automated more complex tasks that are often related to decision-making. IT solutions need to provide more support to people with tailored information or recommendations. If people are well empowered this has many benefits like reduced risk of manual errors, because the know exactly what to do. Decision making is improved as everyone has the needed information to make them based on facts and there is an additional drive to innovation on the factory floor because it is easy to share information. Overall, the performance of people is increased as they have all the information with no searching.

Despite all, today the vast maturity of life sciences companies are not tapping the full potential out of Industry 4.0 and are still struggling with meeting the described demands. The discussion around the topic Industry 4.0 is not new however companies are just getting started now on their journey towards Industry 4.0. As the technology continues to advance the line between the digital and the physical world will continue to blur. Industry 4.0 will enable the manufacturing industry to take a step to the next level of efficacy, productivity and safety.

Industry 4.0 – From an academic debate to a crucial strategic differentiator

SAP has been engaged in the Industry 4.0 discussion and its strategy all along. In 2011, when Industry 4.0 became an academic discussion of the concept, SAP was an integral part of the definition of Industry 4.0 as the future High-tech Strategy for 2020. Over the next two years (2011-2013) SAP was an active participant and member of the Industry 4.0 Working Group to define initial implementation recommendations for the strategy.

In 2015, the Industry 4.0 strategy was expanded to include input from additional companies, associations, trade unions, science and political parties. It embraced new trends and topics. After digital applications and products had already been widely implemented, the development and use of data business models and artificial intelligence were anchored in the work as cross-cutting topics in 2018. In 2019, the Industry 4.0 consortium and its partners including SAP presented the 2030 Mission Statement for Industry 4.0, which highlights sovereignty, interoperability and sustainability as central guard rails for global open, digital ecosystems.SAP then announced the company initiative Industry 4.Now to provide applications and advanced technologies that bring to life Industry 4.0 Intelligent Enterprise processes.

Industry 4.0 – by SAP leveraging Intelligent Enterprise Technologies and Applications

We at SAP believe that a focus on end-to-end processes is required to tap the full potential of Industry 4.0 to bring automation to the entire manufacturing process and integrate it with logistics, sales and service and to connect the company to the entire network of suppliers and innovation-partners because you can’t win alone and embed intelligence.

Industry 4.0 by SAP allows customers to build Intelligent Products that are designed to monitor and maximize performance over time, while meeting customers’ precise and unique configurations, to build up Intelligent Factories, that are leveraging data and intelligence to run as autonomously as possible, while delivering both mass-produced and individualized products at scale, leveraging Intelligent Assets, linked to every process and dynamically maintained.

For more information, visit the Industry 4.0 landing page at

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