WHEN MY SON ANDREW ENTERED HIGH SCHOOL, ONE of the first things he was interested in doing was going out for the football team. He soon learned that ‘going out for the team’ meant a lot more than just showing up for practice and donning a uniform. It meant he had to make a deep emotional commitment to being part of a team that would win some and lose some, that would have to work hard at its strategy, skills, and in being a team.

That commitment wasn’t forged immediately. It had to be molded and shaped and tested over time, often through trying circumstances. But the day did come when Andrew ‘made the commitment’, and after that, there was no turning back. He played the full, four years of his time in high school.

We are now seeing evidence that the manufacturing industry is starting to make the commitment to Manufacturing 4.0, which the ML Council has been calling the next wave of industrial progress. Over the last several years, we have seen interest building in M4.0 and some investment in new technologies and in the development of strategy to make it happen. But the industry as a whole has moved slowly, not always in a straight line, and certainly not without interruption. All of this is to be expected given the order of magnitude change that M4.0 represents.

Our latest survey on transformative technologies provides encouragement that the pace of M4.0 is picking up. In “M4.0 Adoption Picks Up Steam”, Executive Editor Jeff Moad writes that not only are manufacturers saying they plan to spend more on M4.0-related technologies in the months ahead, but more are now doing so pursuant to a M4.0 strategy, a connection that many had not made in prior years.

And in “Putting M4.0 Into Action”, guest author Stefan Krauss from SAP says the benefits and opportunities associated with this next wave of industrial progress are irresistible, and he urges manufacturing executives to make a full and genuine commitment to adapting their organizations to the new era.