Since consumers are more demanding now, the furniture sector has been looking for ways to innovate and to stay competitive, causing some to define the present moment as Furniture Industry 4.0.
What does this concept mean and what does Industry 4.0 include?
We are going to answer these questions below, so you can apply a self-diagnosis, realizing the next steps to remain competitive in a globalized and technological world.
What is Industry 4.0?
Industry 4.0, also known as The Fourth Industrial Revolution, is a concept regarding the insertion of automation and information technology in our daily lives.
It represents the technological innovation, especially applied to previous handmade tasks, like turning raw material into marketable products.
With the help of technologies such as artificial intelligence, cloud computing and robotics, we become closer to the possibility of machines operating and developing tasks on their own, without human interference.
Remember all those futuristic movies about human beings sharing the world with robots?
The Fourth Industrial Revolution intends to make it possible for us to automatize manual and intellectual activities.
We can already see algorithms on search engines and even on social media, that study and learn our habits, almost anteceding our needs.
When it comes to the industry, especially the furniture industry, this can be even more revolutionary.
Principles of Industry 4.0
To be able to reach this goal, Industry 4.0 takes the following principles into account:
With the intention of anteceding large-scale problems, it is possible to simulate the machinery functioning in a digital environment.
Through monitoring, copying and manipulating elements, we are able to analyze how processes would work on the floor plan.
Autonomy or decentralization
It refers to the ability to delegate the decision-making to the machine itself, allowing it to solve problems, adapt strategies and evaluate necessities.
It represents the trait of connecting processes and making them exchange information among themselves, contributing to the tasks’ success.
It is the possibility of fixating or detaching modules according to the factory’s demand, offering the flexibility of establishing changes without negatively impacting on productivity and work rhythm.
Orientation to service
It is the assurance that all software will interpret the clients’ demands, offering customized services and solutions.
This principle guarantees simultaneity while collecting data and information about processes, making the decision-making process quicker.
Technologies that are part of the Industry 4.0
Industry 4.0 makes processes quicker, smarter, and more efficient. For this to work, it gathers a group of specific technologies.
Check the common examples:
It consists of storing data on servers shared online so that information, software, and services can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
Internet of things
Also known as IoT, it represents the connection between different devices through the network, optimizing and simplifying the use of objects that can interact with each other.
These elements can be monitored and adapted remotely, and besides, they can even work on their own.
A common example in households is Alexa, a virtual assistant able to perform duties such as turning the lights on and off.
Thanks to artificial intelligence, machines can perform more advanced tasks based on logic.
This includes interpretation, analysis, support, and automation, which is being used nowadays in different sectors.
It collects and stores a big volume of data, managed by machines through algorithms, and statistical and smart techniques.
With Big Data, we are now able to perform calculations and projections that were unfeasible beforehand, considering the amount of information it was required to reach the same results.
It corresponds to the technology that makes it possible to produce workpieces based on a digital design, a 3D print.
This fabrication is the result of overlaying thin layers on the object, allowing a more precise detailing and customized items.
What are the benefits of Industry 4.0 to the furniture sector?
Depending on the company’s technological maturity and its goal, an ERP software or a Business Intelligence tool can be great first steps towards innovation.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a new company or an experienced one in the digital implementation, thanks to Industry 4.0, anyhow they will be able to reach results such as:
Automation is a big stimulation to make processes quicker and this is no news.
What Industry 4.0 brings to the table is the possibility of a quicker production without sacrificing product customization.
Considering the contemporary customer’s profile, someone who wishes for high-quality products at a good price and in little time, this innovation allows furniture businesses to provide products to the retailers in a quick manner, and more consistently with the public’s needs.
4.0 technologies allow companies to reduce their production waste.
The efficient communication between automation infrastructure, the IT team and the rest of the company simplifies the detecting and solving of problems as soon as they come up.
Besides, when allied to Augmented Reality, they can bring opportunities to the furniture sector like higher instruction to the workers, sale, and customer power; and as well as profit through the whole sale process, from industry to retail.
Industry 4.0 present a system able to quickly collect data, which is then interpreted and shared with other phases and departments.
With direct information being shared efficiently, an integrated communication that can hugely impact retail sales is created in the logistic chain.
Investing in 4.0 technology not only brings advantages to the production process in the furniture sector but also improves the business reputation in the eyes of the final customer.
What about the Furniture Industry 5.0?
Now that you know all advantages the Fourth Industrial Revolution presents, we need to tell you that in the last few years people started talking about the Fifth Revolution!
Its core revolves around the importance of the human element that, allied to technological advances, creates a more productive environment and positive results for all involved.
But this is a topic we can discuss in a next post.