Demystifying Buzzwords: Industry 5.0, Part 2

In the first part of our series of demystifying buzzwords, we took a look at Industry 4.0 and discovered that it turns out that the technologies and goals work excellently with a high volume of identical goods...


What fundamental challenges does Industry 5.0 solve for Industrial Enterprises? 

In the first part of our series of demystifying buzzwords, we took a look at Industry 4.0 and discovered that it turns out that the technologies and goals work excellently with a high volume of identical goods. In our follow-up and final part, we take a look at Industry 5.0 and how it is able to adapt to the new challenges that are facing the Industry today. 

Industry 5.0 was created to re-focus attention on people and how we can responsibly manufacture in the future 

Weirdly enough, in many Digitalization journeys, most concentrate on the technology enablers: IOT, Data Collection, Data Analysis, AI, and machine learning. This is the “how” and the “what” of a system change. Many though do not account for the “who” will use the system every day and reap the benefits. This is where Industry 5.0 or the next generation of a Digital Production Systems comes into play. 

The main goals of 5.0 are to leverage the creativity of people, attain the flexibility to change quickly, and predict problems before they arise. Machines take a long time to configure and repeat the same process. When the process changes because a customer wants something different, changing the automation process becomes lengthy and costly. 

Therefore Industry 5.0 harnesses the flexibility of people, where creativity is needed to create a far wider and more comprehensive range of products, dynamic to market changes, and where people are delivering products focused on other peoples’ ever-changing needs. Industry 5.0 has three main focus areas: 

  • Sustainability 

  • Human Centric 

  • Resilience  

Sustainability - back in focus 

A significant focus for Industry 5.0 is Sustainability. With the United Nation’s introduction to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, industries are refocusing on how they can contribute to achieving these goals. Greenfield tech with green energy, reducing the environmental impact on production, a sustainable workforce, and focusing on Circular Economy are now the new mantra. 

Due to growing pressure from the market, regulatory, environmental, and self-imposed requirements, Industry 5.0 shows us the path to a more environmentally friendly way forward. Understanding the cost of sourcing from for example a mine upwards is now imperative for many Battery Manufacturers. Understanding the impact of mineral mining, ensuring that a correct worker environment is implemented, and the cost of shipping are all parameters that are being closely monitored these days. Manufacturers want to ensure their supply chain is secured to the core element. This creates a sustainable environment while making business sense in the unstable markets we now find ourselves in. 

People-Centric – People are now the key! 

Industry 5.0 continues to hammer home the importance of Human Centric ways of working. 

A sustainable workforce focus is one of the key elements of Industry 5.0. One of the key issues that the Manufacturing Industry faces is that most of the workforce is reaching retirement age over the next couple of years. This implies that any newcomers to the workforce need to be onboarded quickly and be able to learn from more experienced colleagues as quickly as possible. Health and Safety components are another vital part of a Sustainable workforce; ensuring the proper certification, training, and up to date knowledge is paramount when working with heavy machinery, robots, and other large machines that can result in serious injuries or worse.    Allowing people to interact with production brings many benefits. In the Greenfield production case, getting up and running with your production is clearly quicker and cheaper than buying a whole load of robots without knowing what your repetitive tasks may be. Plus, at the beginning of your greenfield journey, you can quickly adapt to market needs, rapidly learn from mistakes, and introduce a new process within a day or less. This is only possible when people are able to make quick changes.     In more well-established industries, people are now playing a crucial part in similar use cases. Many industries need to deliver more choices to their customers, better quality control, and less waste. Investing in machines for such activities is a very long journey to success. Allowing your workforce to execute tasks is much more effective and meaningful. 

Resilience – working in a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) world! 

Jodi Taylor, a favorite author of mine, wrote, "Plan for the best, expect the worst.” 

Another quote, of course, is Murphy’s Law: “If something can go wrong, eventually it will.” 

We now find ourselves in a VUCA world, the question is whether we were ever not in such a world, but the term is relatively new. 

Being resilient to a supply chain that is far from certain is now one of the critical problems the Industry is discussing. We no longer can accept incoming goods that fail QA tests, leading to massive waste. Lithium batteries and silicon chips are now among the many commodities companies find difficult to source. Industry 5.0 helps companies plan for resilience, the ability to change direction, and use different processes to build and accept other types of sourced products into the line. Here the importance of the Human eye is even more paramount. Being able to quickly assess products and situations and plan for a contingency to avoid disruption is not something a machine can do. Resilience also allows for balancing historical data and learnings from the past with AI and Machine Learning to, for example, implement Predictive Maintenance and automated processes that can be quickly executed. For example, tying up the Supply Chain to the customer ordering from a website. 

Now to the last two questions I posed at the beginning: 

Is Industry 5.0 just simply another overpromising generation of technologies like 4.0?     Like me, I hope you conclude that Industry 5.0 is not just another title to initiate change but rather a fundamental way to survive and prosper as a company. Furthermore, producing with sustainable resources and people is paramount for creating a responsible environment moving forward.  

Is Industry 5.0 trying to solve some fundamental challenges that industrial enterprises face today?     Again, I hope your conclusion is also “yes.” Re-focusing on the people in your production process, people who use your product, and those to whom you supply products, seems to be the only way forward. I am convinced that Industry 5.0 principles are more accessible than previous generations. Both greenfield and mature industries alike are being increasingly asked to produce personalized products and use Green-tech solutions to accelerate to meet the high mix demand. The only way forward is to concentrate on how best to leverage people. 

Whether you care about Buzzwords or not, the key takeaway is that if the Digital journey you are on focuses on people rather than technology and machines, then in my opinion, you can’t go wrong!

Talk to an Expert

mtek logo

Chat with an Industry 5.0 expert today.

Schedule now