...CORNELIA SAMEC (EXPERT FOR INDUSTRY 4.0 AND LEAD CONSULTANT AT TIETO AUSTRIA)
The term “Industry 4.0” has been making its way through the media landscape for several years now. Most people probably know that the name refers to the digitalization of production processes in industry. Where, for you, does the concept of Industry 4.0 start and where does it end?
Before we start our work, we always ask ourselves where our customers currently stand in terms of Industry 4.0. Then we define the next steps in the optimization process. In addition to the digitalization of individual production processes, we also look at connecting multiple existing systems to a new whole. Ideally, the result is a platform with additional long-term benefit for our customers. For me personally, the term Industry 4.0 stands mainly for the fundamental idea of meaningfully connecting systems with one another and making our world simpler and better through networking and communication.
How complicated is the implementation of Industry 4.0 solutions in a production-oriented company?
The actual effort involved depends on the respective degree of digitalization within a given company. But even the very first step towards Industry 4.0 is much simpler than many decision-makers think. I see our job as being mainly about leading companies into their digital future in a way that is simple and easy to understand.
Are Industry 4.0 solutions better suited for some branches of industry than others? Are there any areas in which Industry 4.0 plays no role at all?
The industrial sector and all manufacturing companies definitely have a high digitalization need. But these developments will not spare the service industries or the public sector either – though here the term of choice is not Industry 4.0 but rather Customer Experience Management, Smart Home Solution or Digital Motorway Vignette. Whatever the sector, however, what we’re talking about here is digitalization – and that affects us all. Though at Tieto, we aren’t some kind of digitalization missionaries. We don’t push digitalization in places where it doesn’t bring any added value.
Will we have fully automated factories in the future?
People will always have an important influence, even if many things in the factories of tomorrow are automated and digitalized. I am convinced that anything digital cannot do a lot without an analogue component – meaning a person. What digitalization is changing above all are the tasks performed by people and the way we work. Instead of always performing the same routine tasks, people can use their resources, for example, to perform a quality analysis or to continually improve new work routines. This development represents an enormous change for our entire working world. Some people will face an immense challenge, of course, but in the long term a certain amount of digitalization is the only way for a company to remain competitive.
How do you and your team at Tieto Austria support Austrian industrial firms in the digitalization process? Which areas do you cover?
We work together with our customers to identify what makes sense for them right now. After an analysis, we develop new business models to raise their level of digitalization. It is especially important for us to lead the customer into a meaningful digital future. We always proceed at a speed that the organization of each respective customer can handle.
What effects do Industry 4.0 solutions have in production besides increasing the efficiency?
They create more transparency. A digitalization project always implies change for the customer’s organisation and needs to be accompanied by change management. People must be a part of this process. Successful Industry 4.0 solutions are welcomed by all employees and are practiced by them on a daily basis.
Do you think that concepts from the field of Industry 4.0 will also find their way into other business sectors – for example, retail or the hospitality industry?
Definitely. Efforts are being made, for example, to integrate sensors into materials. These could be used to gather information about the wearer comfort of certain clothes in order to improve the textiles accordingly. For every development, there are many examples of how these can be applied and used. And we see new ideas and developments every day. From this digital flood of possibilities, we filter out those things that make sense for our customers.