How Business 4.Zero influences globalization
One of the earliest flights between two countries took place on January 7, 1785, when Jean-Pierre Blanchard and John Jeffries crossed the English Channel in a hot air balloon. It wasn’t until more than a century later that an object heavier than air repeated the journey. At the beginning of the 20th century, the development of aviation technology took off, and in 1917 the first airline to operate international flights was founded. Since then, the ability to travel and move goods internationally has dramatically changed the way companies do business.
Technological developments inside and outside factories have influenced the globalization of the manufacturing industry – the process by which companies and other organizations develop international influence or operate internationally. Since the first industrial revolution, industrialization has influenced international business. In particular, advances in transport and telecommunications are having a major impact. With increasing trade and communication, more and more companies are expanding their reach over land and sea.
In fact, the modern manufacturing supply chain revolves around globalization. Goods are moved around the globe on a daily basis by shipping companies, forwarding agents and by air. Business activities, including outsourcing of logistics, facility management, professional services and maintenance, can all be international processes.
With every major industrial and technological change, the characteristics of globalization have changed. In 2011 the term Industry 4.0 was introduced by the federal government and Siemens. Industry 4.0 is shifting production away from analog and mechanical technologies towards everything digital.
As information technology and operations technology converge, companies begin to find new ways to connect. The data collected from suppliers, customers and the company can be compared with detailed production information, which enables fine-tuning of the processes in real time. The digital and physical world are irrevocably linked, machines, systems and people can exchange information and adapt automatically. Industry 4.0 is not only revolutionizing manufacturing processes, it is also having a strong impact on the model of globalization by changing the workforce and making it easier to access services.
Blurring the lines
In the early days of Industry 4.0, companies used more complex, global supply chains and data networks in their operations. Physical connectivity is being replaced by an increasing number of digital connections, many of which are stored in the cloud. Greater international cooperation is possible more than ever. With cloud-based software, anyone in any geographic location can contribute to a design. This feature is increasingly being offered in Computer Aided Design (CAD) software, making design a more collaborative process.
However, globalization doesn’t just improve the design process. Companies can use digital connectivity to get the most out of their talent pool or international supplier network, as expertise can be offered remotely and in real time. In many international companies, suppliers or employees work in small clusters to increase the flow of ideas that can be disseminated further via the cloud. Inexpensive data storage and transfer will increase decentralization and flexibility for businesses. This can mean that the international company of the future does not need a significant physical presence around the world, but operates from just a few clusters.
Increased connectivity means businesses now need to be competitive on a global scale and not rely on their physical location to do business. This requires companies to focus on meeting the ever-changing consumer demands. The flexibility of manufacturing and production and the integration of automated technologies can shorten production times and enable companies to react faster, which increases their competitive advantage.
Logistics has come a long way since the first flight across the canal. Industry 4.0 has revolutionized business operations inside and outside the factory, strengthened the links between international organizations and advanced the process of globalization.
About the author
Jonathan Wilkins is Marketing Director of EU Automation, a legacy industrial parts supplier. Contact Jonathan by email at email@example.com.