How many more years can IPL survive?

The evolution theory of digitization

IPL magazine 48 | July 2019 | Author: Prof. Dr. Klaus-Jürgen Meier

... or learn what is best

It has been scientifically recognized since Charles Darwin established his theory of evolution. Nature and all existing forms of life have evolved and thus secured their survival.

Only those who have not adapted to the changed living conditions have perished. These insights can be easily transferred to today's business world. Companies are started and some are extremely successful. Other companies have existed for a long time and are going bankrupt. If you believe the multitude of current publications, there is only one guarantee of survival these days: Industry 4.0 - no matter how different the business areas and products are. But the theory of evolution is much more differentiated. There are a large number of different manifestations in fauna and flora that have ensured the existence of the species. The same should also apply to companies.

The interesting question is what is the right company-specific evolutionary path? Because one thing is certain, doing nothing is definitely the wrong alternative.

The development of the production strategy from 1990 to 2010 was shaped by the philosophy of lean production. With the help of standardization and the avoidance of any kind of waste, production should be better controlled and also qualitatively improved. A lower variance in the company led to an increased profitability. Based on this, mass production has driven standardization to perfection. Customer-neutral and in large numbers, it was possible to manufacture the products cost-effectively and in reproducible quality through the use of automation.

And yet there were still companies that were successful through customer orientation and customer specification of their products. These companies understood variance as a competitive factor. A strategically used variance should not be understood as an excuse not to standardize. The philosophy of Quick Response Manufacturing (QRM) shows very well that both approaches are mutually dependent.

Only through standardization and avoidance of waste can a high reaction speed to individual customer requests be achieved economically. The degree of digitization in production is limited with QRM. The evolutionary paths have thus branched out. The main distinguishing feature is the variance - see Fig. 1.





With the introduction of Industry 4.0, it is now possible for the first time to continue on both paths with the help of digitization - but always based on the basic values ​​of lean production. The main difference between the paths is the degree of maturity of digitization that is used.

While the classic automation for mass production still gets by with a low degree of maturity, an intelligent form of digitization is necessary for the varied production down to lot size '1'. It has an influence on the business model, on the product or service and thus also on the organization in the company.

Management has to decide what the added value of such a digitization variant and thus the variance is for the company. A trend-setting corporate strategy can only be derived if there is clarity about this. The corporate evolution must therefore be planned consciously.

Based on these interrelationships, the IPL offers the management of companies in a variety of ways support in making decisions about the desired degree of maturity, the development of a digital corporate culture and the actual implementation. A structured methodology helps with the orientation between mass production and Industry 4.0. IPL workshops explain the terms and disseminate ideas in the company.

A differentiated evolution becomes understandable and lived - and thus perhaps also ensures the survival of your company.