Industry 4.0 — the fourth revolution to occur regarding manufacturing. Has it really been that many? Let’s take a brief stroll through the history of industrialization in order to create a complete understanding of the industry 4.0 definition.
First, humans invented steam power (think trains and early machinery). Then the assembly line (we’ve all heard of Henry and the Model T. Ford). The third revolution occurred when computers came into the picture, and now the fourth revolution relates to the implementation of smart and autonomous technology systems.
It’s hard to imagine how these new technologies will affect your specific market. The application of IoT, cloud computing, machine learning, AI, robotics, and cyber-physical systems are taking manufacturing to new levels of flexibility and connectivity. Industry 4.0 technology enablers will contribute to increased virtualization and interoperability, the decentralization of decision-making, real-time capability, and flexible adaption of individual module replacement or expansion, just to name a few things. As decisions made in the digital world increasingly affect the physical and vice versa, you’ll see the fourth industrial revolution in the background, quietly running the show.
You may be thinking, ” how will all of this affect my industry?” Short answer: there are endless possibilities.
As machines take over more and more jobs previously performed by humans, there becomes less work for the aforementioned humans to perform. Or so you’d think. If you’re looking to cut costs by employing fewer people, that’s an option. However, if you aren’t looking to contribute to the current lack of jobs — caused by as well as causing an economical crisis — then you’ll find yourself innovating the roles that people take in your business. Bonus: this doesn’t necessarily mean your employees need to learn how to program.
For example, machine learning can revolutionize your system of hosting and seating parties. If a computer can perform the Tetris that is deciding where your guests sit better than your Saturday night maî·tre d’ can, then it makes sense to allow the computer to take over. But then what happens to your maî·tre d’? Do you demote them to a mere hosting position? Or do you go back to the classical function of what a maî·tre d’ is meant to be?
It’s no secret that human connection is not only important but necessary. Allow them to handle guest satisfaction: asking guests about their overall dining experience, helping the servers when there’s a rush, and hosting your most important clientele. With an extra leader on the floor to handle your busiest nights and your crankiest customers, your guest relations will improve (and so will your Yelp reviews).
Can you imagine never running out of the supplies you need? Beyond that, can you imagine never wasting surplus either? The food you serve is as good as its freshness, so be sure to use high-quality food packaging supplies to ensure that your product remains in perfect condition. From food basket liners to food pan covers, from tamper-evident seals to vacuum-packaging equipment, find a supplier that will provide all of your packaging needs. Then, look to the cloud.
If you have an algorithm that predicts when you will need certain supplies, you’ll never run out. Of course, how can an algorithm predict how busy your restaurant will be? Can an algorithm take into account the weather or the holiday seasons? Yes, yes it can.
Cloud integration allows hardware and software alike to use information from other programs to benefit your own, meaning that you can use other restaurants’ data to help create your model. More data means better predictability and greater efficiency in your restaurant. It also means not paying more money for priority shipping because somebody didn’t notice that you were running low on your stock.
Industry 4.0 will provide so many ways to increase productivity while lowering the stress levels of your employees. But let’s not forget why people go to restaurants in the first place: to enjoy high-quality food with people they love. Nobody can take away the joys of in-person human connection, not even a very smart, dare I say life-saving machine or algorithm.