The evolution of the sector was defined in 2013, at European level, in the now well-known Industry 4.0 manufacturing paradigm (of German conception) which laid the foundation of what we call the “fourth industrial revolution”.
The great merit of the “National Industry Plan – later Enterprise – 4.0”, promoted since 2017, was to bring back to Italy a national industrial plan that was absent for a long time.
And Plan I4.0 has undoubtedly contributed to supporting the investment component of the national manufacturing economy, in light of the situation of the World and European Economy.
However, we have not seen the desired “industrial renaissance” resulting from the ongoing industrial revolution. Why?
“Revolution is made with people!”: Awareness and knowledge of 4.0 technologies are now widespread in most of the production realities of the supply chain, but to achieve effective integration between mechanical and electronic/IT parts of machinery and products and the consequent creation of intelligent factories integrated along the entire supply chain and in all value creation processes, we need an organisational model capable of involving workers to improve and enhance their digital skills.
A closer collaboration in the supply chain can contribute to better seize opportunities related to enabling technologies: between manufacturers and users, up to the final “transformer”, the optimisation of the machines connected to each other in the production process (Industrial Internet of Things), data collection (via Cloud), the use and related data analysis (“big” data analytics) to understand correlations and patterns that cannot be perceived by humans, can improve the performance of the finished product, of the process and of the workers’ safety (Artificial intelligence). All this is partially already a reality in the tech-driven fashion supply chain.
The change of organsiational and traditional business models should make you leave basically individualistic competitive positions for a more integrated, more open and more sustainable supply chain that is aware of its role in international value supply chains.
As an industry, we risk losing the global challenge we are playing for the technology leadership of the near future.