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Beyond Industry 4.0

The focus will now be on the end-to-end digitization of all physical assets, and on the integration of digital ecosystems with value-chain partners.
By Walter Sanches

It is a natural tendency of which organizations need to be aware. While global companies plan to invest $907 billion—about 5 percent of revenue per year in Industry 4.0—only one in ten national firms invest more than 8 percent of their revenue. The focus is on digital technologies such as sensors or connectivity devices, software and applications, employee training, and organizational change management.

In order to have an effective transformation within a company, it is first necessary to change the corporate culture, starting with thinking only of physical assets, especially with respect to industry. Investing in things that are not physical assets is necessary to enter this scenario more appropriately. Training employees, reviewing processes to make them leaner and automating systems are necessary for a company to take the maiden step with regard to digitization. Following this same thinking, it is essential that all areas of an organization be part of the process to understand the scenario and the new changes.

One concern that arises with digitization is with regard to information security. With all the important information from the digital medium, care must be doubled, so engaging everyone in the process and training staff members is essential in order to avoid data leakage. The next step is to think about the customer's needs, what you can offer that it does not yet offer, or what the competitor provides. It is from this thought that you can use your database and information to know how to satisfy customers more automatically. The movement must happen backwards—that is, first listen to what a client needs and wants to be able to solve through internal processes, in addition to identifying any errors and failures.

Previously, the industry focused on the individual automation of machines and processes; with Industry 4.0, the focus has been on the end-to-end digitization of all physical assets and the integration of digital ecosystems with value-chain partners. It has come to sustain the gains promised through the generation, analysis and communication of data that encompasses several new technologies to create value.

Ninety-three percent of businesses around the world believe that within five years, data will be essential for decision making, and digitization is one way to make better use of this data. When a company starts to take advantage of new processes, systems, tools and means of collaboration, that changes the way it operates and makes processes more intelligent.

Walter Sanches is the IT superintendent at Termomecanica.

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