Faced with fierce global competition and pressure to reduce time to market, many FMCG manufacturers are asking how to future proof the output and process of their construction projects within the context of Industry 4.0.

It is a question we are addressing in our projects, implementing latest technologies and project management processes to ensure future-proof results. To inform our work, and provide more insight for our clients, we supported graduate research into this topic at the Delft University of Technology. The research analysed multiple projects and drew on desk research to provide a context and roadmap for manufacturers.

It highlighted the fact that future FMCG factories are likely to be smaller due to a decrease in stored stock and fewer people. The factories will also be smarter, representing cyber-physical systems with almost autonomous movement of goods and interconnectedness of all systems.

Embarking on the transition to Industry 4.0, the research recommended implementing changeability and integration as additional project drivers. For manufacturers, a focus on data acquisition and analytics of consumer demand is identified as helpful in developing a changeable business case. Changeable design and engineering processes using 5D BIM in combination with parametric design were also highlighted. The focus for process product suppliers relates to advanced conversion to the physical world, such as smart robotic technologies and additive manufacturing.

Key to future proofing construction projects was close communication between all parties and constant review of developments to create an iterative learning process.