[Video] Dare to get started: Agoria and delaware experts discuss Industry 4.0

IT
Internet of Things
DEL20
Mar 03, 2021

When we refer to Industry 4.0, what are we actually talking about? Can companies in Belgium compete with those in Germany, the US or the Netherlands in this area? And what are the first steps companies should take to speed up their digital transformations? These and other questions sparked a passionate – and covid-proof – debate between experts from sector federation Agoria and delaware. Watch the conversation unfold below.

Around the table on that wintry Monday morning in February:

  • Geert Jacobs, Factory of the Future project leader at Agoria
  • Ben Van Roose, manufacturing manager at Agoria
  • Sven Arnauts, delaware.ai senior manager at delaware
  • Tim Leys, SAP development senior manager at delaware

Watch the panel discussion (in Dutch), or read the summary below.

More than just technology

First, our experts wanted to find common ground on what is meant, exactly, by Industry 4.0. A deceptively complicated question, as it quickly became clear that the term is about a lot more than just innovation and technology. “Industry 4.0 was an answer from Western industrial players to the challenges of global competition and addresses how to optimize efficiency with the same number of people,” says Ben. His colleague Geert concurs: “We always start from the perspective of the people involved. In fact, the term ‘Industry 4.0’ as such almost never comes up in our conversations with companies.”

This quest for more efficiency is also what delaware colleagues Tim and Sven experience when working with delaware’s clients. “Digitalization is never the goal in itself: technology always plays a supporting role in helping companies get ahead.”

"Companies need to get into ‘continuous transformation’ mode to become more competitive. Not just through the application of new technology, but by getting everyone on the same page."

Geert Jacobs, Factory of the Future project leader at Agoria

Where does Belgium stand vs. other countries?

When it comes to assessing the maturity of Industry 4.0 in Belgium, our experts agree that there is still some work to be done when compared to countries like the US, Germany and the Netherlands. From their experience at Agoria, Geert and Ben make an important remark: “We might be a bit more conservative in Belgium, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The general approach here is to ‘just get started and improve what’s already there’, instead of making a big show of implementing the latest new technologies.” In the video experts on both ends of the table offer inspiring examples of Belgian companies taking the lead in Industry 4.0.

What can companies do to get started?

All four experts agree that SMEs are quickly gaining ground on large enterprises when it comes to digitalization. However, ensuring that as many companies as possible can keep up remains one of the main challenges. “Some companies really need to act fast if they want to keep up in the next few years,” says Ben.

For inspiration, Sven and Geert refer to cross-industrial initiatives like Agoria’s Factory of the Future Roadshow and the DEL20 initiative at delaware. These programs enable companies to experiment with digital innovations and share their experiences with their peers. These testimonies often spark new ideas in other sectors as well, creating an avalanche of exciting opportunities. The key takeaway, however, is perfectly clear: start small, but start, and don’t be afraid to fail.

"The key to success in Industry 4.0 is having the courage to get started. Even the inevitable mistakes are incredibly valuable learning opportunities."

Sven Arnauts, senior manager delaware.ai at delaware

Inspired and ready to get started, but not sure where to begin? Our experts can help you embark on your journey.

get in touch with sven and timdownload the industry 4.0 roadmap and reference architecture