“Technology continues to race ahead, bringing innovative applications seemingly bound only by the imagination. Automation, the industrial Internet of Things, and robotics, among others, are transforming the way companies approach the production and delivery of goods. The coming years could bring completely automated manufacturing floors, increasingly transparent supply chains, flexible operating models—even the emergence of “dark warehouses,” which require no human workforce.1 Such breakthroughs are closer to reality than ever before. Consider that Tesla has claimed the production of its Model 3 is already 95 percent automated.2 Similarly, in late 2018, DHL launched an automated distribution center that boosted productivity by 60 percent over nonautomated facilities.
Such innovations represent a tremendous opportunity. In 2018, McKinsey identified $1 trillion of potential value that industrial companies could capture by deploying a tech-enabled transformation (see sidebar, “Defining a tech-enabled transformation”).4 Yet arguably, the impact to date in industrials has barely scratched the surface. Indeed, most CEOs would admit they are in only the early stages of deploying technology at scale and achieving the promised impact. Tech-enabled and digital transformations are a top-of-mind issue for CEOs, but few companies currently sponsor digital initiatives, and even fewer are achieving the targets they have set.”