Do you think the digital shift only pertains to the manufacturing industry? Make no mistake: it affects businesses in all sectors.
A 4.0 transformation is essential for your business in order to increase your competitiveness, regardless of your industry: retail, services, tourism, bio-food or other.
Competitive advantages for your business
Integrating digital technologies makes it possible to significantly improve all of the organization’s processes, in terms of both operations and the customer experience.
There are numerous benefits to the 4.0 transformation, such as:
- Responding to your customers’ needs more quickly and forging stronger ties with them;
- Attracting and retaining talent within your organization through an enhanced technology experience;
- Increasing your production capacity and product quality;
- Reducing your costs by automating activities and improving the flow of information within your organization.
Businesses with high digital maturity are 62% more likely than their peers to have experienced strong sales growth over the past three years.
What does a digital shift entail?
This advancement, called “digital transformation”, “4.0 shift” or “industry 4.0”, consists of using new technologies to increase communication between your organization’s various components (individuals, machines, products, suppliers, distributors, etc.).
In other words, it is about optimizing the organization’s processes and services to make it more competitive, through the acquisition, processing, evaluation and interpretation of data.
What can the digital transformation do for you?
Here are tangible examples of the benefits of the 4.0 shift in different activity sectors.
The integration of digital technologies enhances the customer experience by allowing consumers to view inventory status, configure products, evaluate delivery times and track the progress of products.
For example, a clothing retailer could offer its customers the opportunity to integrate a photo of themselves into its online shopping platform so that they can virtually try on certain models, sizes and colours of clothes they are interested in. The customer process could then be automated all the way through to the transaction and shipping.
The customers of a building materials distributor, for example, could have access, via the Web, to all the products that are offered, with an illustration and their various characteristics. Customers could also find out about inventory availability, order and pay for products online, and then track the shipment progress.
Imagine air flights are cancelled due to a snowstorm. Using artificial intelligence tools, a travel agency could automatically identify affected customers, offer them new flights, re-plan their travel itinerary and change their hotel reservation.
By installing sensors on machines, real-time data can be collected and production can be proactively monitored to identify and correct problems. Another application: monitoring production with cameras makes it possible to check product quality and automate the reject process.
Automating farming activities and using data can help increase yields and reduce production costs, among others. For example, there are a growing number of applications for continuously monitoring the growth and health of animals and automatically regulating their diets based on the data collected.
Transformation through a step-by-step process
You have to prepare for a digital shift. It’s best to go gradually, without skipping any steps and by prioritizing projects according to your resources (human, material, technological and financial) and your ability to manage this change.
- Think about your needs, the processes to be improved and how to stay competitive;
- Define your strategic objectives;
- Prepare a complete organizational diagnosis.
This diagnosis is carried out by means of an industry 4.0 audit, which is used to develop a digital action plan to achieve the strategic objectives.
All industries are now eligible for financial assistance under the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation du Québec’s Audit Industrie 4.0 program.
Do you have questions about the digital transformation? Our experts will be more than happy to answer them.