We are at the beginning of the fourth industrial revolution. The most commonly used terms to describe this development, which is rapidly changing the industrial landscape, are Industry 4.0, smart manufacturing, the Internet of Things, cyber-physical systems and digital transformation.

The Industry 4.0 concept encompasses the digitalization of the horizontal and vertical value chain, innovation in products and services and the creation of new business models. The key business drivers of this transformation include improving customer experience, increasing speed to market and reducing costs.

To reap the benefits of this revolution, leaders of industrial enterprises have Industry 4.0 at the top of their agenda. However, implementing an Industry 4.0 production environment will be an incremental journey over several years that will include modernizing legacy systems. Once undertaken, the possibilities of applying Industry 4.0 concepts and technology are unlimited.

This paper answers the crucial questions related to Industry 4.0—from what the Industry 4.0 concept represents and why it belongs on the C-level agenda, to the challenges, benefits and ways to implement this approach to gain a competitive advantage.

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