Industry 4.0: A Swiss SME's perspective

Elite SA is an SME from the French-speaking part of Switzerland that produces exceptional mattresses and bedding. The company's CEO, François Pugliese, sees digitalization as an excellent opportunity. He will talk more about it at the "Exporter Demain!" event on September 16 at the EPFL. Interview.
François Pugliese, CEO Elite SA
François Pugliese, CEO Elite SA

How do you view Industry 4.0 at your company?

Industry 4.0 offers Elite some wonderful opportunities in a number of different areas:

  • Digital communication, for example, enables Elite to communicate and interact with its target customer base all over the world; it enables our prospects to understand our philosophy and products in depth, which was not possible through traditional communication.

  • The Internet of Things, particularly connected objects, has enabled Elite to change its business model for selling products to the hotel industry: Now, 50% of sales are made using the Smart Lease system, leased on a per-night basis.

  • Other opportunities are being explored to develop connected mattresses and beds.

How will digitalization affect business and collaboration internationally?

As I mentioned, access to the international market is made easier by digital communication. Also, our connected products and technological innovations make Elite an innovative manufacturer at the cutting edge, giving us better visibility and real competitive advantages.

Are SMEs in the French-speaking part of Switzerland well prepared for the digital transformation, in your opinion?

Thanks to the different platforms available, such as Innovaud and the technology centers, SMEs in French-speaking Switzerland are increasingly aware. Nevertheless, we are still way behind what is happening in North America and the Scandinavian countries.

“Digital transformation”, “the fourth industrial revolution” and “Industry 4.0” are buzzwords describing complex transformation processes that affect more than just IT and production. When tackling such changes internally, where should companies start?

There is no rule about this. The important thing for the company is the need to develop awareness of the revolution that is under way. Next, the management needs to work out which areas to implement these new technologies in: products, management, process or business model; the objective being to create value for the customer, increase employee wellbeing, improve productivity, develop a product or service, or even reinvent an occupation like Uber did.

Are you interested in the digital revolution too? Then join us in discussing it at the "Exporter Demain!" event. You will not only find inspiration but also explore the way in which Industry 4.0 can help SMEs take advantage of digital evolution to optimize their activities in the global market.


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