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Innovation Center for Operations

BCG’s network of model factories demonstrates Industry 4.0 innovations in action.

BCG has a set of proven proprietary tools and methodologies that focus on Industry 4.0—a topic that affects all manufacturing domains. Industry 4.0 comprises advanced manufacturing technologies that are empowered by all means of data progression, storage, and optimization. 

Our Industry 4.0 approach has been successfully applied in many industries in order to identify relevant use cases and required technologies. The objective is to improve companies’ competitive advantage by realizing benefits in productivity, quality, flexibility, and speed. 

Each of these factories can be leveraged in BCG projects to foster technology immersion. The model factories include real production lines and visionary technology demonstrators, allowing for a unique experience.

A customized visit to a model factory features capability-building sessions, an exchange of experiences with Industry 4.0 experts, and hands-on testing of use cases in order to understand the related benefits. The objective of the technology immersion session is to generate ideas about how to implement Industry 4.0 use cases in your company’s plant. 

BCG’s structured Industry 4.0 approach consists of four steps:

  1. Understand pain points and assess the Industry 4.0 maturity level. We identify the key challenges within companies’ operational frameworks to understand where Industry 4.0 solutions can be deployed. We also perform a health check to help organizations assess their current state of Industry 4.0 progress. To better understand how the identified pain points can be addressed, company executives and staff participate in exploratory demonstrations of Industry 4.0 technologies at the Innovation Center for Operations (ICO) model factories. (Real-world outcome example: A European plant recently assessed its Industry 4.0 maturity level in more than 20 categories and found that it needed to make specific improvements in two-thirds of those categories.)
  2. Develop a long list of specific opportunities. Drawing on BCG’s database of more than 150 examples of Industry 4.0 applications, we help companies identify specific use cases for further examination, and we conduct deep-dive workshops at the ICO’s model factories to detail opportunities for improvement. (Real-world outcome example: The European plant referred to above identified about 70 relevant use cases. On the basis of discussions during workshops at the ICO’s model factories, the plant’s representatives prioritized those use cases for a further detailed assessment.)
  3. Assess impact and select priority use cases. At ICO’s model factories, additional workshops support companies as they quantify all related implementation costs and required investments for the long-list use cases. The assessment of expected financial and nonfinancial benefits helps organizations select the priority use cases for implementation. (Real-world outcome example: At an ICO workshop, the European plant’s representatives prioritized more than a dozen use cases on the basis of attractiveness, using time required for implementation to distinguish among short-, medium-, and long-term opportunities.)
  4. Start implementation. To prepare for implementation, we help companies identify technology suppliers, perform application engineering as required at the ICO’s model factories, and prepare for implementing a pilot program and a full rollout. BCG also helps companies assess the qualifications gap of their workforce as related to the use cases and then determine the best ways to respond by hiring new talent as well as retraining the existing workforce. (Real-world outcome example: The European company leveraged BCG’s engineering partners and facilities to implement specific Industry 4.0 solutions.)

Industry 4.0

Digital Industrial Technology

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