Industry 4.0, an accelerator to boost a well-designed operating model

The effect of the fiscal measures in Italy to incentivize investments in digital solutions (material assets or software) is outstanding: investments in capital goods increased by 9%, orders in machinery grew by 10% (better than Germany), positive data also on spending in research and innovation. Nevertheless this is just a small portion of what it could happen if the digitization was integrated and embedded in a well designed and established operation model (also called Production System). The largest part of the Industry 4.0 potential is within the Industries using the digital solutions, rather than in the industries producing those solutions. The results reported by the Ministry of Economic Development reflect just the effect of an increased demand of “interconnectable” assets.

But what about the value generated by the new digital equipment and software in the companies which paid the investment? In my opinion, Italy is lagging behind, particularly in the SMEs, where the maturity of the industrial operating model is poor. Without a solid continuous improvement system and the proper capabilities in place to identify and eradicate losses, process digitization would turn to be a failure; with results insufficient to pay back the investments to chase after the Industry 4.0 dream.

The key message I want to launch is the following: digitization cannot be used as a shortcut to recuperate years of competitive gaps versus the best in class; digitization is a means to boost the implementation of a well-designed operating model (www.fondazionergo.it)

Gabriele Caragnano

Direttore Tecnico Fondazione Ergo

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