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The True Impact of Industry 4.0 Revealed

Industry 4.0 or Industrie 4.0 was introduced by the German government to promote their manufacturing industry and is often used interchangeably with Internet of Things (IOT) or more specifically Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT).

When asked in an online survey [1], 70% of the 60 respondents indicated that they knew what Industry 4.0 or the 4th Industrial revolution was. And when asked which Industry 4.0 initiatives their company is working on or planning to start working on within the next 6 months, the majority was focusing on Model Based Definition, Additive Manufacturing, Augmented/Virtual Reality and Big Data analytics/Advanced algorithms (see Figure 1). While only 7 respondents entered Artificial Intelligence as one of the initiatives.

What most of these initiatives have in common is product information and that inevitably has to deal with Configuration Management (CM). The funny thing is that when you look at search trends with Google Trends the popularity of Configuration Management is going down starting in 2004 while the popularity of Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 is going up and even surpassing Configuration Management in popularity. Also if you search on Industry 4.0 and Configuration Management you will find only 1 relevant article from Joseph Anderson: Making plans for digital transformation for Industry 4.0? Enterprise Configuration Management is the thread for success… [2]. And recently you will also find a presentation called The True Impact of Industry 4.0 [3].

But the big question is what will the impact of implementing Industry 4.0 initiatives be on Configuration management. According the online survey Configuration management vs Digitization [1], 76% of the respondents indicated that they expect at least medium impact to the way configuration management is done at their company.

17% indicated that there will be no impact, however of the 17%, 58% indicated None/I do not know any Industry 4.0 initiatives at my company. Suffice to say that there is a general idea that there will be impact even though we might not yet know exactly what that impact is going to be.

Coming back to the question: what do many of these initiatives have in common? Well I think they have Configuration Management (CM) in common. CM as foundation for success.

The Industry 4.0 Committee of the IPX Congress tried to understand the impact of Industry 4.0 on Configuration Management and Integrated Process Excellence. For our analysis we used a risk based approach to determine high risk areas which we documented in the impact matrix [4]. These areas were defined based on the CM2-500 operating standards and some additional items related to the model based enterprise.

For the five areas with the biggest risk we defined mitigation strategies to close the gaps and we defined recommendations for process and tool requirements. This can help IpX improve their CM2 model and software tool vendors can use this to understand how to support our companies to make CM ready for the future.

Note that it does not mean the other areas are insignificant or do not deserve your attention as it really depends on your company’s CM processes and your company’s roadmap to implement Industry 4.0 initiatives. Some initiatives might have higher impact on for instance the closed loop change process while others have more impact on Item Hierarchy & Process Plan.


With Industry 4.0, the variety of products will increase in all industries. With flexible manufacturing and mass customization, batch sizes of 1 will be possible. Therefore, the importance and vitality of Configuration Management will be maximized to manage this increased product complexity. What has become clear is that Industry 4.0 runs on information, product/process related information, and that information is controlled through CM processes. So if your CM processes are not mature and cannot ensure consistency of your configuration information or cannot ensure the digital twin is a real digital twin, then Industry 4.0 will amplify your current maturity level of CM and its associated level of corrective action. In other words, things will become worse and will require a lot of firefighting to keep things from completely derailing.

Although Industry 4.0 brings exciting new and shiny initiatives, the big risk is that we lose the control over the configuration we have today instead of gaining more control. Therefore, it is important to know what your CM maturity level is today and understand what is required to support the 4th Industrial revolution to ensure that the foundation is in place and that you can embrace the changes that are coming instead of drowning in corrective actions.

If you want to learn more about the True impact of Industry 4.0 on Configuration Management, you can find the Industry 4.0 Toolkit[5] including the details of the results as highlighted above in the IPX Community Toolbox. Access to the IPX Community Toolbox requires a CM2-C certification or up. You can also apply your own analysis using the impact matrix and Deep dive template for your own organization as it could very well result in different findings and therefor different priorities.

The Industry 4.0 Toolkit contains:

  • Keynote – The True Impact of Industry 4.0
  • Extended Presentation – The True Impact of Industry 4.0
  • Breakout Results – The True Impact of Industry 4.0
  • Breakout Template – The True Impact of Industry 4.0
  • Impact matrix: Industry 4.0 Impact to IPE-CM2 (including Deep Dive Template)
  • Industry 4.0 Capability definitions
  • Industry 4.0 Capability dependency mapping
  • Industry 4.0 Glossary
  • Configuration Management versus Digitization Survey Raw Data
This article was originally published on LinkedIn.


[1] Martijn Dullaart – “Online Survey Configuration Management vs Digitization Raw Data” – 29 August 2017

[2] Joseph Anderson – “Making plans for digital transformation for Industry 4.0? Enterprise Configuration Management is the thread for success…” – 8 May 2017

[3] Martijn Dullaart – “The True Impact of Industry 4.0” – 18 September 2017

[4] IPX Congress Industry 4.0 Committee (Martijn Dullaart, Paul Nelson, Susanne Lauda, Max Gravel, Wouter Mollers, Todd Egan & Joseph Anderson) – “Industry 4.0 Impact to IPE-CM Rev C” – 2017

[5] IPX Congress Industry 4.0 Committee (Martijn Dullaart, Paul Nelson, Susanne Lauda, Max Gravel, Wouter Mollers, Stephen Watts, Todd Egan & Joseph Anderson) – “Industry 4.0 Toolkit” – 2017. (requires login, account can be requested if you have a CM2-C, CM2-A or CM2-P certification)

The author is chair of the Industry 4.0 committee of the IPX Congress formed by cross industry leaders from AGCO, Airbus, ASML, FNSS, Gulfstream, IpX, and Northrop Grumman. Together they are working on a solution to help answer the following questions:

Do you also wonder why Configuration Management never gets mentioned in conjunction with Industry 4.0 or (Industrial) Internet of Things? Would you like to know the impact of Industry 4.0 on CM? What are the risks and opportunities? What will it mean to your CM processes? What requirements should IT tool vendors be made aware of and subsequently support? And what will be the impact to your organization and the people in it? How can you mitigate the risks and how can you prepare your organization to be ready for change?

1 thought on “The True Impact of Industry 4.0 Revealed”

  1. Pingback: Next Disruption Please… – MDUX

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