Smart Industry, was it all better in the old days?
Every other week one of our employees writes a Bexter blog. A section with a variety of topics, from what's going on with the client and trends in the market to a look behind the scenes at Bexter. This week it is the turn of commercial director Toon. He writes about Smart Industry or also named as Industry 4.0.
Almost every day we are in contact with our customers about the large-scale digitization changes. Often they lose sight of the bigger picture because of the use of difficult (often English) terms. They don't know exactly where the opportunities lie and where the potential risks are. A number of them are also experimenting with new technologies. Sometimes independently. Sometimes with other chain partners. Often specialists are involved as well.
In many cases, the word smart is added to these projects because of their 'hip and adventurous character'. We see all kinds of programs pass by. From 'smart logistics' to 'smart farming' and from 'smart cities' to 'smart industry'. To pick out the latter: what is 'smart industry' really?
The definition smart industry was once invented by research institute TNO and employers' organization FME. According to TNO, smart industry stands for far-reaching digitization, the linking of products, machines and people and the deployment of new production technology.
Many people refer to smart industry and Industry 4.0 in the same breath, because they see this development as the 4th industrial revolution. From Bexter, we would of course like to make a contribution to this. We have already taken the first steps: TrackOnline makes it possible to connect automated systems and exchange data. Ultimately, customers want the systems to operate autonomously through their analytical and self-learning capabilities. For example, our software application TrackOnline can be linked to various IoT (Internet of Things) networks. A number of our customers use sensors or tags in their load carriers. These are also called 'intelligent assets' or 'intelligent logistics tools'.
This information also helps to make circular choices for maintenance, reuse, and replacement of load carriers. To really make a difference, it is important that everyone is willing to share relevant data, so that 'pools' of load carriers can be used most efficiently.
Was everything better in the past? No, of course not! By using technology, processes can be set up better so that less money, time and/or effort is needed and perhaps fewer mistakes are made.
We want to help customers with this and try to do this as well as possible. Just with a nice club of involved, flexible and enterprising people. Without fuss and buzz words.