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Industrial transformation: sorry, what?

Have a look at the concept of industrial transformation, a process that can revitalize an entire company as well as transform a whole sector. 

There is a lot to know about it but in this article, we will introduce you to what it means to go through an industrial transformation, why to do so, its phases, challenges, and benefits. Do you want to dive deeper?

Image by © Ümit Yıldırım via Unsplash

 min read
Image by © Ümit Yıldırım via Unsplash

You might remember a similar article we published on our blog, but this one is indeed about industrial transformation. The term has been around for a good while now, however, if you have not fully figured out what it is or if you want to have a more concrete idea, you are at the right place. 

Industrial transformation, IX, the fourth industrial revolution or industry 4.0: it has many names, but all of them refer to the same phenomenon that we have been witnessing in industry since the appearance of digital technologies. Then, shouldn’t it be under the umbrella of digital transformation?  


What on earth is industrial transformation? 

By definition, industrial transformation is a coordinated process to leverage technologies for the improvement of industrial operations. Even if they are both business transformation branches, the main difference is that digital transformation pursues the settlement of your company in a digital environment, while industrial transformation uses technology for digitalizing some processes and studying how to enhance the efficiency of resources and efforts. 

While digital transformation can be implemented through smaller changes and with a more gradual approach, industrial needs a holistic plan from the beginning. Changes in industry are more often than not a great investment, and they demand the deployment of a complex system that will affect the whole production chain. 

IX can be referred to as a general or a specific revolution, in other words, it is both a phenomenon which changed the manufacturing sector and one that a specific company goes through. The choice of undergoing such a process can be triggered by internal or external events, but in both cases, the objective is to gain a competitive advantage through a long-term strategy. Manufacturing is moving faster than ever, and this movement is powered by several causes. 


Why go through an industrial transformation process? 

The motivations for opting for industrial transformation are numerous and among them, we can find:

  • Technologies and innovations that arrive to substitute current ones,
  • Situations in which we have to cover a new need,
  • The obligation to respond to market demands,
  • The need to scale the system to match the company’s growth,
  • Globalization's effect,
  • The need for sustainability in the industrial process 

Not taking care of these sets of needs or enhancement opportunities could end up with severe consequences for productivity and efficiency, and therefore, for the entire company’s activity.  

The stagnation of a company’s processes is prejudicial to its survival, without mentioning its development. Transformation and willingness to stay up-to-date show resilience and prolong the life span of a company. It is necessary to improve and adapt, but be careful! 

Sometimes we are prompted to follow a path, and we are pushed to it due to “group pressure” (yes, it also exists in company management). Unquestionably, IX is beneficial and even necessary, and yet, adopting a process of this magnitude in a rushed way can prove to be a poor choice. Don’t follow a trend or a process blindly, even less so if you will not be able to commit to it. Commitment is crucial to reaching your goals and sustaining them in time, as like any process, industrial transformation calls for readjustments. You can establish pointers and measure their progress to find out where to readjust. 

Industrial transformation involves change, of course, and it can fit into any of the following categories. They are organized from lowest to highest intervention approach

  • Developmental change: this model aims to improve the existing structure and to enhance the system’s performance.  
  • Transitional change: instead of working in the existing one, a different one gradually replaces the previous technology. The chosen technology would bring added value, but its adoption cannot be immediate.  
  • Transformational change: this is the most drastic change, as it means shifting to a completely different structure. It is a total reconstruction of the company’s methods and systems, instead of the mere change of a single factor. 


Step by step: walk before you can run 

As you noticed, we refer to it as a process and not as a single action. To carry out a fulfilling industrial transformation, the ideal is to go through several stages

1. Envision your change 

Analyse the gap that separates you from your goal: your resources, your investment capacity, your needs, how urgent the change is, define measurable KPIs to get there and any other factor you might need to have a complete overview of your situation., and  

Remember that no matter what change you decide to implement, it must be realistic and fitted to your company

2. Engage with the change 

Outline the plan and involve everyone to have a shared vision. Making sure of it will help further along the way in having a united front and avoiding misunderstandings. 

If any training is needed, this is the moment to teach it and involve those who may take part in the change. 

3. Let the transformation begin 

Turn your plans into action by introducing the changes, modifying the processes as needed and ensuring that your transformation is cohesive throughout the various aspects of the business (culture, values, targets, technologies…).

4. Optimise  

Study your transformation’s progress in order to spot the potential improvement points. Establishing a feedback loop can prove very useful to identify them. The goal is to create stability by internalising and incorporating the change into the institution and monitoring its progress throughout time

It is relevant to keep in mind that a transformation will forcefully impact your culture as a company. In the end, culture and working methods are directly interlinked: how you work shows a lot about who you are. Because of this reason, it is advisable to rework your company culture and make sure that it will fit with the change you envisioned. Inconsistency in this area can come up as a lack of care for the company’s image, which can cause doubt to sprout.  


Unpacking the challenges ahead 

Industrial transformation involves new challenges to face and, even if you will not need to do so with all of them, here we have collected some of the most commonly encountered when embarking on IX. 


New processes and transformations can be expensive both to implement and to maintain. 

Amount of data 

Transformation and growth end up creating a considerably sized database to manage.

Technical skills 

A transformation usually comes with new tools and the need for new technically skilled actors that can take the most out of them.

Data privacy 

Clients and companies alike are not fond of confiding personal information in case it can be leaked or misused.


Companies are trying to lean on a more sustainable development, both for the planet and consumer demands.


Every new process, tool or change implemented must follow the current legislation for the company’s location and production centres 

System Safety 

The more interconnected a system is, the more efficient it is, but vulnerable too. An attack could compromise it all.


The transformation and the actual model should find a symbiosis in which the business could change without losing its DNA.  


All systems, technologies, and processes should be regarded as a whole. They work with and for each other, which means they are codependent and could affect one another.


What is in it to gain? 

Nobody would dare to step into such a process without the guarantee of equally substantial benefits, some of the ones we have listed below. 

  • Smart & efficient system
    Extensive databases, used with a smart system that can process every option, lead to finding the most accurate solution, which will ultimately enhance efficiency.
  • Better working conditions
    These processes and changes can drastically reduce dangers, problems or other obstacles that can influence the employee, as well as reduce physical work and repetitive tasks.
  • Personalisation opportunities 
    Smart systems, better-performing tools and a higher processing capacity are the keys for industries to grant a more personalized experience to customers without the cost being as high as before said transformation.
  • More sustainable 
    Smart and efficient give as a result the possibility of saving resources by using them better. Better monitoring of where resources go means an open door for better management.
  • Faster processing 
    A more connected system will be able to find solutions even faster, which will bring agility to the process. In such a competitive market, being the fastest in offering a response can be a game changer. 
  • Real-time data  
    Having a well organized and designed database can prove to be not enough if the information is not updated. What industrial transformation allows, is to have real-time data that will result in having the most accurate answers possible to issues raised.


We hope that after reading this article helped you round out the concept of industrial transformation. This concept could be summarized in the collaboration and enhancement of processes, technologies and a meticulous organization for achieving better productivity and agility in the company with a lower number of human errors, gaining this way an advantage over other competitors. 

Now that you have dipped your toes in the field of industrial transformation, keep an eye on our content to stay updated! Ekkiden chose industrial transformation as one of our offered services because we believe in working on enhancing our processes and doing it a certain way. If you want to know about it, do not hesitate in visiting our careers page.