Digital business and Industry 4.0: Here’s why artisans should also invest in digital

Filippo Calabrese

Filippo Calabrese

Table of Contents


When we talk about digital business, we are not referring to the number of computers, peripherals, digital devices and computer software in a company. In the 21st century, a business can be called truly digital when it succeeds in leveraging to its advantage all the advantages that technology offers.

Many of our enterprises, especially artisans, have yet to make the big leap into digital transformation by changing their structures, adjusting their production and marketing processes for their products, and properly training their staff.

The digital transformation of the past decades, which has involved, globally, any field of production, gave birth to the idea of Industry

4.0, the fourth industrial revolution in human history.


What digital transformation consists of

It is an indisputable fact that digital transformation must perfectly fit the profile of the enterprise, affecting its various specificities. For this reason, it is difficult to formulate a definition that applies indiscriminately to all companies, whatever the business sector.

However, resorting to generic terms, we can define digital transformation as the integrated incorporation of digital technology into all areas of business. Such integration cannot fail to drastically change the company’s operations and its ways of dealing with customers.

Beyond that, digital transformation is a real cultural change that requires companies to experiment and challenge themselves to achieve increasingly ambitious goals.

This often implies abandoning many processes that have become antiquated but have been the backbone and foundation of the company for so long, in preference to completely new processes.

A huge challenge that, as we shall see, has its undisputed advantages.

Digitization and craftsmanship

Digitization leads to the emergence of new business models, but it also has profound implications for the organization of work and the way of working. Crafts must not be left behind and must, instead, be able to seize the opportunities arising from technological innovation in production and digital communication, now an indispensable element of any marketing strategy.

Moreover, it is a fact that customers’ needs have also evolved with the emergence of new digital platforms: they now expect highly personalized and interactive services, available at all times and at reduced costs.

In the face of these evolution, craft enterprises must necessarily be ready to respond, effectively and quickly, to the new requirements by adapting their business models: they will have to focus more on providing a tailor-made service, while satisfying, at the same time, the need for information and advice of customers.


What is Industry 4.0 and why it affects craft enterprises

The concept of Industry 4.0 or industry of the future was first formulated in 2011 at the World Industry Forum in Hannover. Historically and socially, we can define it as the fourth industrial revolution, in analogy with the great technological transformations that occurred in 1765 (mechanization), 1870 (electricity, telephone, airplane) and 1969 (electronics and telecommunications).

For all industrial enterprises, of all sectors and sizes, it is a matter of dramatically turning around by changing the organization of production through digital innovation (virtual reality, robotics, artificial intelligence). One of the goals is to adapt to new consumption patterns by being able to produce customized services and products in limited series or small quantities without incurring additional costs.

The ability to reduce costs to produce valuable parts in limited numbers fits handicrafts, as is evident.


Characteristics of Industry 4.0

Industry 4.0 is:

  • Agile and responsive: can change quantities and production methods quickly
  • More efficient: connected and collaborative, Industry 4.0 strives to develop the skills of its employees and to use digital tools in an intelligent way to manage, communicate and improve the knowledge of its customers.
  • More cheap: by optimizing its means of production and digitizing at all levels (purchasing, logistics, energy consumption), the industry of the future saves and preserves the company’s resources and those of the planet.


Benefits of Industry 4.0 for craft enterprises

Going digital offers tangible benefits for craft businesses, not only in the long run but also in the relatively short term.

Here are the main benefits that craft enterprises can enjoy if they adapt their business to the criteria dictated by the digital innovation of Industry 4.0.

  • Increased productivity: a digitized craft enterprise is able to anticipate and prevent production downtime and optimize equipment maintenance and efficiency, thus reducing the period of time from the conception of a product to its release to market (time to market).
  • Reducing operating costs: Industry 4.0 offers artisans several cost-saving tools such as real-time production monitoring and quality control, preventive equipment maintenance and automation.
  • Increased overall customer satisfaction: digital technologies improve the overall quality of products and their compliance with customer requirements, particularly through real-time quality checks.
  • Improving the ability to innovate: new cutting-edge technologies such as 3D printing and the IoT (Internet of Things) make possible the emergence of new business models. In addition, small and medium-sized craft enterprises that can keep up with the times will be able the possibilities offered by innovation to reinvent themselves in the context of the digital revolution.


Sellinnate is by your side to revolutionize your artisan enterprise

The digital transformation of any business requires an elaborate and arduous process whose effects reverberate on all aspects: from production in the narrow sense, to human resource management; from scheduling to customer relations.

This is an impassable road for the uninitiated that must, however, necessarily be traveled in order not to destine one’s craft enterprise to certain bankruptcy.

Sellinnate provides you with a team of experts who can guide you in digitizing your business to propel it into a future that, for many, is already present.