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Industry 4.0:New stage of development in the export business

Another industrial revolution is coming, the fourth in economic history: Industry 4.0. It is described as a quantum leap. For the Swiss export industry as well?

The answer is yes. Swiss export companies can benefit from Industry 4.0. Namely, in two ways. It can even be argued that Industry 4.0 focuses on the needs of internationally active companies like no other systemic innovation.

But first things first.

Industry 4.0 is essentially nothing more than the pragmatic, practical and efficient use of current (and future) options made possible by the economy (and especially but not limited to the manufacturing industry) thanks to new, mainly digital technologies.

This primarily involves:

  • continually improving productivity in all work processes throughout the entire life cycle of a product or a service
  • keeping all distances short (from the idea to a product up to its sale and possibly its maintenance)
  • planning and meeting the needs of the customers even more closely
  • simplifying and accelerating complex administrative processes.

In short, optimizing value flows and chains (including cross-border), thus obtaining time and resources for new ideas, innovations and investments, for instance, which – the keyword being shortened innovation cycles – are all three needed more than ever in the context of Industry 4.0 for international business to stay on the ball.

Switzerland Global Enterprise will give the subject of Industry 4.0 due attention this year. Primarily in order to offer internationally oriented SMEs a aid in using and implementing Industry 4.0 as an increasingly important element in the context of any internationalization or export project. For example, when it comes to global value and manufacturer networks or new transnational business and cooperation models.

You can find our dossier with the latest information about the industry of the future, as Industry 4.0 is often called, on the Switzerland Global Enterprise website. In our newsletter and on our website , we will regularly report on new aspects, processes, trends and developments as they involve Industry 4.0 in both the narrower and broader sense. And last but not least, this year's Forum for Swiss Foreign Trade and Investment. will also be dominated by Industry 4.0, in which the focus will be on its importance for export-oriented Swiss SMEs. How to best implement Industry 4.0 (application in practice), what it brings (benefits in practice, experience), and where it will lead us (trends). With all the challenges that Industry 4.0 brings with it, expectations in the industry of the future are great. In Switzerland as well.

And with good reason. Especially since Swiss companies have the best conditions to implement and deploy Industry 4.0 in a useful and profitable manner. But they are already playing a significant pioneering role in Industry 4.0 defining categories. For example, 6% of Swiss workers are engaged in technology and knowledge-intensive sectors. That is a leading value in Europe. In addition, no other country has a higher added value in industrial production. And with a look at the relevant rankings: hardly any other country has more innovation.

Industry 4.0 now offers the possibility to continuously strengthen this good positioning and develop the competitiveness of the Swiss export industry. Resting on our laurels is not an option. If you miss out on Industry 4.0 or don't take it seriously, you may be overtaken by your competition. In Switzerland, there is little danger of this. Our economy and particularly the export industry have repeatedly demonstrated that they have an excellent understanding of how to capitalize on new challenges and possibilities offered by the current technological developments, and extract / distill / filter out exactly what is needed in the specific applications to be at the forefront of international business.

Ultimately, Industry 4.0 is no more and no less than the bundled and concerted use of new technologies to improve the economy and the general welfare. Thus it isn't actually anything new. Only that the new elements appear here in a concentrated form, which will offer Swiss companies that not only exemplify Industry 4.0 but are also closely involved in its development incidentally sooner or later a number of new business opportunities – as a source of ideas, as innovators, as producers, as suppliers of major components or construction elements for the industry of the future.

Because companies in more than just Switzerland want to reach the level of Industry 4.0. In other words, the world is upgrading; new infrastructures to implement and deploy Industry 4.0, expertise, technologies, services are needed worldwide. In demand, incidentally, especially with companies from the countries where Industry 4.0 is already well advanced and is bearing fruit. Industry 4.0 works in this regard in two directions: internally to optimize own performance and competitiveness, and externally as a catalyst for additional growth in a variety of markets / sectors, which all open up new business potentials. Especially for those who have already 'internalized' Industry 4.0.

Forum for Swiss Foreign Trade and Investment.2016 (April 21st in Zurich)

Learn more about the topic in our dossier: Industry 4.0

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