Analysing the major challenge that the fourth industrial revolution entails, the goal needs to be building and embracing the digital transformation out of optimism, with a change in mentality, living this situation from a positive perspective, adapting to development out of anticipation.

The challenges that arise in light of the incorporation of new technological advances are numerous and are characterised by the automation of all those processes that are not qualified, displacing labour towards tasks where humans contribute added value. This creates uncertainty with regard to the obsolete thinking of “a job for life”. However, it is important for us to be capable of learning and, above all, unlearning, reprogramming for new contexts and technological ecosystems that are constantly emerging. In this sense, financing to generate technological entrepreneurship is key.

Likewise, the incorporation of process automation requires a precise analysis of the system and the structure, in order to define an appropriate strategy that involves the re-engineering of production methods. This preliminary task involves time measurements and the optimal reorganisation of workflows. The traditional logistics models will not be able to provide a solution to the new economy’s service demands unless major changes and adaptations are undertaken, with the massive entry of disruptive technologies, automated guided vehicles (AGVs) and collaborative automation.

These automated systems operate under the management of personnel with very specific knowledge of robotics and programming which makes it difficult to find them in the labour market. According to a study by the “National Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte”, it is estimated that 3.4 million jobs will be needed in the US industry over the next 10 years. Sixty percent of these jobs will probably not be filled due to the shortage of talent, which means that only 1.4 million jobs will be filled out of the 3.4 million jobs needed, creating a deficit of 2 million workers over the next decade. In the same vein, Spain, according to the July 2018 ManpowerGroup Index, will need more than 2.1 million technical, qualified profiles in the next decade. These new skills require the training of existing personnel to meet new needs. The new profiles sought by Human Resources teams also include characteristics such as flexibility, adaptation to change, communication skills and the ability to work as a team.

Another one of the challenges will arise in light of the need to refit the plants and facilities with the incorporation of technologies that enable them to be more closely aligned with Industry 4.0 processes, which should be seen as a great opportunity to transform the entire company with added value and thus enable it to compete better.

In addition, our greater dependence on IT requires us to be able to ensure the integrity of our systems, which is why computer security is presented as another one of the major challenges, searching for the appropriate means to repel any possible attack that would prevent the proper operation of the system. Cybersecurity is, therefore, another one of the important challenges.

However, the greatest challenge of this whole process has to be taking advantage of the opportunity that it presents us with. One of the keys that we have to be aware of is that the global world attracts industry back to Europe and the United States. The reversal of offshoring. The goal is the same: to be more competitive. However, the tools of the digital transformation era are different.

In light of all these challenges, we have to analyse the opportunity of this new digital era. We point out some key points in the next chapter of this blog.