Skip to main content

Deloitte Global survey reveals Industry 4.0 paradoxes

Published by , Editorial Assistant
Global Mining Review,

As the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) expands the possibilities of digital transformation, business executives foresee sweeping changes.

A Deloitte Global report released 10 October 2018, “The Industry 4.0 paradox: Overcoming disconnects on the path to digital transformation,” finds that businesses plan to invest heavily in digital transformation, but strategic and operational paradoxes threaten to hamper these efforts.

The Deloitte Global survey of more than 350 executives in the manufacturing, power, oil and gas, and mining industries, explores how organisations in these sectors are investing – or planning to invest – in digital transformation, some of the key challenges they face in making such investments, and how they are forming their technical and organisational strategies around digital transformation. The survey uncovers that while organisations are enthusiastic about the potential of digital transformation impacting their business, there are disconnects between organisations’ plans and actions in four key areas: strategy, supply chain transformation, talent readiness, and drivers for investment.

“As organisations seek digital transformation they must consider a range of questions – from what they hope to transform, to which advanced technologies best suit their needs. But it is also critical to understand that digital transformation cannot happen in a vacuum. It does not end simply with implementing new technologies and letting them run,” says Tim Hanley, Deloitte’s Global Industrial Products & Construction leader. “Rather, true digital transformation becomes central to the organisation, touching upon every aspect of the company.”

“Digital transformation is not a one-size-fits-all process. Organisations are striving for balance between improving current operations and unleashing the transformative capabilities afforded by Industry 4.0,” says Mark Cotteleer, managing director of Deloitte’s Center for Integrated Research. “To successfully align planning and investment with action, digital transformation should be baked into an organisation’s strategic outlook and operational framework. Those best equipped for Industry 4.0 will fully embrace the transformative potential of technology at every level of the organisation.”

As Industry 4.0 takes shape in nearly every organization, the study reveals four core paradoxes:

  • The strategy paradox. Nearly all respondents (94%) indicated that digital transformation is an organisational imperative, yet many fewer – 68% of all respondents and 50% of CEOs – see it as an avenue for profitability. This indicates that while survey respondents may associate operational improvements with strategic growth they do not necessarily associate digital transformation with revenue growth resulting from R&D-driven new products or business models. Many seem to view digital transformation as a ‘defensive’ investment to protect, rather than grow their business. Starting small and expanding beyond defensive spending can unlock new organisational capabilities, and move an organisation along the path toward innovation.
  • The innovation paradox. Executives report that digital transformation initiatives are primarily driven by productivity improvement and operational goals – that is, using technology to complete existing tasks more efficiently. However, organisations should expand their drivers for investment, as an increased desire for innovation are about as likely to bring positive ROIs. This is increasingly important as organisations stand to be left behind by competitors embracing innovation as the key driver for investment.
  • The supply chain paradox. Executives identified the supply chain as the top area for future investment, but only 34% of respondents view the supply chain as a driver of innovation and, surprisingly, only 22% of Chief Supply Chain Officers (CSCOs) played a key role in digital transformation decision making. Organisations should look to elevate the CSCO role and align their supply chain function within broader strategic objectives.
  • The talent paradox. Survey respondents generally believe they have the right talent in place to support digital transformation – only 15% of respondents indicated they need to dramatically alter the composition and skill sets. Finding, training, and retaining the right talent was still the most widely-cited organisational and cultural challenge. Interestingly, the results revealed that the more respondents use these transformative technologies, the more likely they are to be satisfied with their organisation’s current state of talent. At its most polarising, those that interact with these technologies on a daily basis believe their organisation has the proper talent in place 92% of the time, while those who have little to no interaction with digital technology see the greatest gap in talent and development (only 42% believe the right talent is currently in place). Since digital transformation deeply affects talent, organisations should stay ahead of talent needs, make upfront investments in talent development, and involve employees in the digital integration process.

The key to unlocking the potential of Industry 4.0 is fully harnessing information from connected assets to drive decision-making, a process known as the physical-digital-physical (PDP) loop. 90% of survey respondents shared that their organisations gather data from the physical world, but far fewer report the ability to analyse this information and only about half share that they can act upon data in real time. Closing the PDP loop should be considered a primary objective of organisations as they invest in digital transformation.

Deloitte’s research shows that organisations across manufacturing, power, oil and gas, and mining understand the opportunities Industry 4.0 presents. Building more connected, responsive, and intelligent operations will enable them to overcome barriers and find a path that truly embodies the promise of Industry 4.0.

Read the article online at:

You might also like

Technology At The Heart Of Real Progress

Max Luedtke, ABB, Switzerland, explains how connected engineering innovations such as truck electrification, gearless conveyor drives, and ventilation on demand are helping mine operators balance productivity with sustainability as they transition to the all-electric mines of the future.


Embed article link: (copy the HTML code below):


This article has been tagged under the following:

Mining equipment news