Industry 4.0: Get Ready for the Next Industrial Revolution

The latest IESE Insight is your survival guide to the next big digital disruption

21/06/2017 Barcelona

Illustration: Olalekan Jeyifous | IESE Business School
More than creating the factory of the future, Industry 4.0 is about building a factory with a future / Illustration: Olalekan Jeyifous

You may have heard people talk about Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things. Do you know what they mean? You will after reading this issue of IESE Insight, which explains the opportunities, as well as potential threats, for your logistics, operations, manufacturing and supply chains, in a world where technology is fast changing the rules of the game.

IESE’s Marc Sachon unpacks the new industrial paradigm known as Industry 4.0 and how it will connect people, machines, tools and even working capital, while the entry of new manufacturing and process technologies will increase flexibility and value creation on the shop floor.

These changes will accelerate the emergence of new data-driven business models, as IESE’s Javier Zamora explains in his article. The rise of programmable business models will shift the focus from selling tangible goods to selling services, where data and data analytics become the enablers of value creation.

Recent high-profile cyberattacks attest to the importance of cybersecurity, the third piece of the Industry 4.0 dossier. Dr. Elmar Padilla, head of Cyber Analysis & Defense at Germany’s renowned Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics (FKIE), offers practical tips to protect your industrial processes from unwanted manipulation.

Advances in robotics, automation and additive manufacturing are now capable of giving factories the flexibility they need to respond to changes in demand. This point is highlighted in the IESE case study on Etnia Barcelona. Three executives debate whether now is the time for the exclusive eyewear manufacturer to abandon current production plans and bet on the future of additive manufacturing.


Staying on Top of Your Game

Elsewhere in the magazine, IESE’s Bill Baker interviews Andrew Lack, Chairman of NBC News and MSNBC, on media industry challenges in an age of fake news. In this post-truth world, Lack suggests how audiences can find their way through the thicket of what they are reading, and he reiterates the timeless skills required to run a 24/7 news organization today.

To help firms stay on top of their game, the article by Carlos Rey, IESE’s Nuria Chinchilla and Nuno Pitta advocates managing not by objectives but by missions, which involves being inspirational and putting your work to the service of a greater good. Objectives are SMART, they say, but missions are WISE (Wide, Inspirational, Service-oriented and Evaluable).

When there are multiple paths to create and capture value, entrepreneurs need to weigh key factors to optimize make-or-break choices. In another article, Joshua Gans (Rotman) and Scott Stern (MIT Sloan) recommend test two, choose one” for making business decisions under conditions of uncertainty.

The phrase “blue-sky thinking” has never been more apt than for the design and construction of the world’s tallest tower, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai. IESE Insight discusses innovation with the engineer responsible for this mega project, as global cities vie, like companies, to position themselves as brands and gain a competitive edge on the world stage.


Members of the Alumni Association and subscribers to IESE Insight – a quarterly research-based magazine, published in separate English and Spanish editions – can read all these articles using their membership credentials.

Those who are neither Alumni nor subscribers can access the premium content by either subscribing to the magazine or buying the articles from IESE Publishing.

Read the latest IESE Insight magazine here.