Industry 4.0 is the future. Devices will become smart and will be able to communicate with each other via the Internet or any other network. If you look at how German SMEs are prepared for this, you can say that a lot has happened. However, many small companies are still far from achieving the optimum. Therefore, we will show you some important basic rules to help you succeed in this endeavor.
Digitization of business processes – success factors
The first demand made on digitization is that new software should accelerate processes. For example, it is possible for a company to spend 20 hours a month planning production. A program, on the other hand, can do it in 30 minutes and the algorithm even improves the output. Clearly, this is exactly what IT is supposed to do. Therefore: Buy, buy, buy!
The second demand is integration. In practice, this means that a tool should be able to cover as many functions as possible, or work smoothly with other tools. A prime example of this would be if you were to buy Lotus Notes to archive e-mails and make them easily retrievable. This program allows you to systematically store documents in a database and add additional information to them. In addition, files that belong together can be marked as such. A special feature is that with the Notes2conf extension a connection to video conferencing solutions such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom or Webex is possible. This saves an incredible amount of time in organizing employees without having to switch back and forth between different tools. Here in the video you can see the program. It shows what good software integration can achieve:
The third component is the technology for data compression. Many companies now outsource their servers to the cloud and do not use their own servers. There, in turn, they often bill according to capacity utilization and storage space. So many gigabytes or terabytes are then lying around in the digital archive for years and thus produce enormous costs. If they are compressed using the latest technology, the costs are reduced sustainably.
The fourth criterion is the consolidation of as much data as possible in the ERP system – the supreme discipline. By law, companies have to maintain an accounting system. It is ideal if every document in the company can be provided with data. In the case of an invoice something like: Invoice number, invoice amount, date, vendor number, G/L account, cost center, internal order, material quantity, etc. Digitization not only enables you to archive immediately and in compliance with the law. You also ensure that all data from the invoice is automatically posted correctly. In addition, you also ensure that the purchasing department automatically receives an overview of the movement in the material warehouse. Then sales also knows how quickly an order can be delivered by the customer. The more such processes they can transfer to the ERP system using interfaces, the better your company will be organized. The fewer coordination errors there will be between departments. And the better the figures you will have access to for evaluations. However, this requires a tool that allows a freely configurable data export, preferably in the form of a database-like table, such as Excel.