Agile approach, effective change management needed for a smooth transition to Industry 4.0

Moving to an Industry 4.0 environment is key for future success in the industrial and manufacturing sector, but migration to this new world does not have to take place in a disruptive ‘big bang’ manner

South African enterprises are moving to embrace Industry 4.0 models and technologies to enhance efficiencies and remain competitive but adapting to these new models is not without challenges, says Jesper Toubol, Vice President, Elements and Moulds at Lego. Speaking ahead of Africa Automation Fair and the Connected Industries Conference in June, where he will deliver the keynote address on Industry 4.0, Toubel says traditional business culture and a lack of effective change management can challenge efforts to move to an Industry 4.0 environment.

“Key to effectively moving to Industry 4.0 is to move from a traditional waterfall approach to an agile approach. It is not necessary to do massive roll-outs: development and change can be implemented faster in small stages,” he says. “It is also important to demystify what Industry 4.0 means, particularly among workforces, and to emphasize the business case and workforce benefits of moving to an Industry 4.0 environment. So effective change management is crucial.”

Toubol notes that industry is confronted with the rapid advent of Industry 4.0 at the same time as older pre-internet management faces the arrival of a wave of Millennials and ‘digital natives’ into the workplace, resulting in myriad cultural and operational changes in industrial environments. “Enterprises need to accept new ways of working,” he says.

Toubol will present some of Lego’s Industry 4.0 learnings inside his area of expertise, with practical advice on key technologies, managing change and the capabilities needed in the workforce, at the opening of the Connected Industries Conference from 4 – 6 June 2019 at the Ticketpro Dome, Northgate, in Johannesburg. The conference will be staged alongside Africa Automation Fair, the exhibition for the Automation and Control Industry.

Marius Smit, event organiser at event presenters Reed Exhibitions, says Industry 4.0 is a top priority for South African enterprises seeking to grow efficiencies and become more competitive internationally. “Addressing local concerns and Industry 4.0 ambitions, the Connected Industries Conference will assess South Africa’s Industry 4.0 progress, consider whether Industry 4.0 can revive South Africa manufacturing, look at the impact of Disruptive Technologies on business, and drill down into specific areas such as smart communication platforms, the components of smart factories, system interoperability, IIoT, Blockchain, AI, VR and AR, cloud solutions and data analytics for the industrial environment.

The Connected Industries Conference at Africa Automation Fair 2019 will focus on the economic impact of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0 / IIoT) on South – and Sub-Saharan Africa, and how to bring this technology shift to South Africa.  The Africa Automation Fair 2019 exhibition and conference will illustrate ways to overcome manufacturing stagnation and fast track growth, by showcasing the latest technologies, solutions and models for next generation manufacturing.

Africa Automation Fair is a focused networking platform for the Automation and Control Industry and works closely with industry associations including the IIG and SAIMC.  The fair targets senior buyers from South Africa, the rest of Africa and invites participation from international buyers. Presented by Reed Exhibitions, Africa Automation Fair and the Connected Industries Conference will be staged from 4 – 6 June 2019 at the Ticketpro Dome, Northgate, Johannesburg.

For more information, please visit