The manufacturing industry has been influenced and shaped by technological change since the first Industrial Revolution of the late-1700s. Fast forward over 250 years to Industry 4.0, where recent advances in technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and robotic process automation are making their mark on everything from product assembly and quality inspection to equipment maintenance and even manufacturing documentation.

Manufacturers across all sectors are currently abuzz over the promise of these tech initiatives. And with good reason: A report by Accenture and Frontier Economics1 projected that AI-powered technologies will increase labor productivity by up to 40 percent in key industries by 2035. In manufacturing alone, such productivity could lead to a $3.8 trillion increase in economic output, almost 45 percent higher than baseline estimates.

So, what should pharmaceutical and other process manufacturers do now to poise themselves for such incredible growth? On the digital transformation journey, making strategic, incremental changes to business-critical processes will be a good place to start.