Marketplace For The Entire Value Chain
Horizontal Networking with inject 4.0
At the inject 4.0 Forum at the end of June in Linz, Austria., to which Engel has invited a select circle of innovation-driven inject 4.0 users, it once again becomes clear that digitalisation is not an end unto itself. The goal of Industry 4.0 is to utilise the full potential of machines, systems and technologies in order to strengthen competitiveness, operate with more flexibility and securely manage increasing complexity. "We have already made great strides in this direction", says Stefan Engleder, CEO of the Engel Group.
Horizontal Networking As a Goal
So far, the path to the smart factory has been focused on the function-related optimisation of individual value creation stages such as production and sales, and on indirect value creation areas such as maintenance management and quality assurance. To this end, machine and process data are collected and analysed, and the shop floor is vertically linked to the operations management level on the basis of digital twins of the machines and systems. As a rule, the classic IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) platforms for this are proprietary solutions. In practice, however, vertical platform structures are unable to meet the requirements of processing data from various provider systems and correlating these with the data from other companies.
The goal of digital transformation is therefore the transition to horizontal platforms that bundle the know-how and offerings of various companies. An open, horizontal networking allows for the cross-functional optimisation of processes along the entire value chain.
Marketplace For the Entire Value Chain
The role model are B2C marketplaces like Amazon or Google. Instead of handling physical assets and their related value creation activities, these companies act as intermediaries between supply and demand, connecting marketplace participants with the help of digital technologies. In order to generate new services, the platforms assemble a multitude of data. The capacity to process and analyse data constitutes the foundation on which to serve customer needs better and in a more targeted fashion.
This trend is penetrating into the B2B sector, with the term marketplace also becoming established there. In future, market participants with the same, similar or complementary value streams will communicate through marketplaces, offer their products and technologies there, and include their suppliers as well as their customers in this network. The plastics processor using multiple systems from different providers will find all relevant information in a central location and can use the applications offered – so-called apps – with particular efficiency.
"Horizontal networking provides the basis for new business models that supplement our current ones and offer added value to our customers", says Engleder. Adamos, for example, offers an industry-specific marketplace of this kind. It is a manufacturer-agnostic, open platform that has been developed specifically for the requirements of machine engineering and its customers, and in which Engel also participates.
Engel Austria GmbH
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