The catchword Industry 4.0 is on everyone's lips. And it truly offers companies revolutionary potentials. A Lean Enterprise is necessary to implement this – a company-wide, integrated overall system that is internally coordinated. For the first time, this comprehensively networked company system is being mapped out at the Center of Excellence for Lean Enterprise 4.0 of the Institut für Fabrikbetriebslehre und Unternehmensforschung (IFU) at the Technische Universität Braunschweig. This means: We examine the entire value added chain of an industrial manufacturing company – from the factory planning and workstation design through to the production and up to the product services offered after the sale of the product.
Digitalization and Industry 4.0 are currently inducing a fundamental change in companies. The dynamics of these developments are also reflected in the requirements for future employees. While standard processes are increasingly being taken over by machines, the human task area is concentrating on special and problematic cases, conceptual and planning activities as well as creative solutions. Human intelligence, accumulated experience and the autonomous action of employees are of central importance to the successful management of such tasks.
The Association of German Engineers (VDI) warns that catchwords such as Industry 4.0 and The Internet of Things will lose their meaning in the future if employees do not receive reference or access to the new technologies and consequently do not develop the necessary competence in working with these systems. Hence, the job of our education system lies in preparing the young people for an active participation in the digital future. For this reason, IFU has included the Center of Excellence for Lean Enterprise 4.0 as an integral part of its teaching.