industry 4.0

Fact or myth: digitalization is not a must-have in industry

25 September 2020

Smart Industry

Digital evolution is indeed required to keep the industrial sector up to date in terms of efficiency, sustainability and innovation. Merely experimenting without embedding it is not enough. It's all about adopting a digital attitude. While starting small is certainly possible and within reach, the main keywords should be 'scalable' and 'affordable'. Digitalization is not hype; it is a basic necessity.

Digitalization is necessary, but half of industry is reluctant to believe this

Around 83% of industrial SMEs see digitalization as an opportunity. Even so, only 1 in 2 companies believe that the impact of digitalization on the sector will be significant. The conclusion to draw here is that only half feel a genuine need to climb aboard the digital train. (Agoria) However, it is evident that digital transformation pays off.

Digitalizing processes is an efficient way to boost operational excellence. Viewing a product range through a digital lens can lead to new business models, such as "as-a-service". Both customers and employees benefit from this progress. Future-proof solutions are inextricably linked to sustainability. Manufacturing means dealing with raw materials, energy and the climate. Digitalization is a way to advance in these areas.

Aim for an infinitely digital mindset

A digital mindset is a prerequisite for achieving a high level of maturity in digitalizing processes and product ranges. When this kind of culture exists in a company, technology is regarded as a strategic differentiator. At Realdolmen, we see digitalization as perpetual transition that has to be actively maintained by the right activities. We set out our approach in our Digital Flow philosophy.

To create a Digital Flow, all the stakeholders in an organization – not just the CIO or the IT department – need to think in terms of "How can a digital system or digital solutions help me achieve my goals?” It doesn't matter where the digitalization spark starts; innovation can come from anywhere in the company, as long as it's kept alive. The aim is not to focus on a single transformation project and then return to business as usual. Aim for an infinite (digital) mindset.

Life as it really is: digitalization

An infinite digital mindset sounds good, but for most people it still seems a long way off. Often, a project starts looking at just a single aspect and dies off after a while because there is too little traction to get it off the ground. Starting small, such as on a single production line, is perfectly fine. It's on the production floor, in fact, that the need for change first tends to become obvious. Put it on the management's agenda from there – only with real triggers and demonstrable value can a company become fully convinced of the need for digitalization.

Unlike a Proof of Concept (PoC), which proves that a concept works, a Proof of Value (PoV) takes a deeper dive into the value of a solution for an organization, allowing it to justify its adoption and measure success. Setting out something like this in writing, with commitment from management, and demonstrating that it is feasible, scalable and affordable, ensures that the essential step of integration and embedding takes place after the experimentation phase.

This blog is the first in a series where we discuss the myths and facts about digitalization in the industrial sector. The first myth has already been dispelled. Discover which myths or facts will bite the dust in the coming weeks.

Leverage our knowledge and expertise to accelerate your progress

Lack of time and resources are often the reason why you find yourself treading water. By teaming up with a technology partner, you are bringing a partner in crime on board. We roll up our sleeves, dive into your ecosystem, take a step-by-step approach and continually inspire you with new ideas. With our pragmatic approach, we set you on your way to embracing a true Smart Industry approach.

Discover all our blogs
Read more

Subscribe and receive our blogs in your mailbox

Sign up for our newsletter

Would you like to receive our newsletter and stay informed about your preferred topics? 

Sign up here