Industry 4.0 and the Need to Revisit the Balanced Scorecard Concept
Traditional quality management and business excellence practices are proving to be ineffective when used in the context of complex processes. Additionally, these initiatives are defamed for generating a lot of papers or soft documents without any analytical or added value in respect to automation and productivity. Due to that, the focus must now shift towards a quality movement that will make industries ready to fully utilize the advantages of the digital economy.
End-to-end digital integration leveraging newer technological innovations, like big data, the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing, simulation, and Cyber-Physical Systems are helping in virtual space connecting with physical systems and in making real-time decisions and strategic planning. Industry 4.0 refers to the reform, transform, and perform industry with the help of IoT, especially AI and ML. This use of advanced information and communication technology (ICT) for industrial growth is now often called the ‘fourth industrial revolution.’
The concept of BSC was developed decades back when technology was just at its nascent stage. Currently, the concept needs to be revisited else it will only become a subject of academic interest. The performance measurement model should be such to evaluate the quality aspects of an organization in the context of Industry 4.0. The framework used should develop virtual tools to assess weaknesses in the current systems.
The impact of Industry 4.0 can help in enhanced customer value proposition through a better understanding of customer needs, data-driven product development, automated manufacturing, and continued product usage data monitoring. These will have benefits like better CRM, new strategic partnerships, expansion of the geographical reach of products and services through digital channels, as well as the development of new client bases and better retention of old clients. Hence, any performance scorecard should help customers in terms of availing of superior-quality products at low prices and better service.
The perspectives of BSC, especially internal processes and learning and growth, should evaluate the quality aspects of an organization in Industry 4.0. It should ensure that strategy formulation, strategy execution, and performance measurement system are aligned to new technologies so as to reap the following benefits:
- Improve productivity – enabling to do more with fewer means, such as in production; faster production in a cost-effective manner with given resources can give more and should help in less downtime and improve Overall Equipment Effectiveness.
- Flexibility and agility – for instance, it should help in easier scale up or down output as a smart factory, making it supposedly easier to introduce new products or processes.
- Regulation – complying with regulations in industries should not be a manual process; instead, Industry 4.0 technologies need to be leveraged to automate compliance, including tracking, quality inspections, serialization, data logging, and more.
- Customer experience – Industry 4.0 should be used to quickly resolve customer issues and offer them more choices.
A traditional approach of BSC leads to fixed or orthodox KPIs which are not relevant in today’s technological scenario. The concept should revolve around improving processes using the latest IT; this includes having new KPIs. The main hurdle emanates from the harsh reality that the BSC concept owners are traditionally performance management consultants and they are not fully aware of Industry 4.0’s percept and concept, barring a few jargons. This eventually restricts their vision to old and proven approaches which are not helping in providing that competitive edge to the industry. The present winning strategy is flexibility and response to the fast-changing and uncertain ecosystem which can be achieved through Industry 4.0 technology.
There is a need to develop a scorecard or maturity level assessment tool that evaluates an organization and its adoption of the benefits from Industry 4.0 while taking the given budget and deliverables into consideration. This can happen only when we involve tech specialists in developing and keeping the tools themselves dynamic so that these may undergo revision after around every 12 months to keep abreast of the advancements in technology.