Also known as the upcoming high-tech production era, Industry 4.0 could drastically change the apparel industry in the future. With factories at the core of the value chain, mass production will shift to large scale personalized and profitable manufacturing. In factories, machinery will become more advanced and use various technologies, including AI, to perform tasks and create products that are relevant to consumers’ diverse demands.
To help its customers in the apparel sector efficiently navigate this new space, Lectra presented an Industry 4.0 roadmap at a conference in Bordeaux, France on Friday.
“When we look at industry 4.0, it is about the industry sharing information from manufacturing to sales, while having intelligent machines and factories connected,” Lectra CEO Daniel Harari said. “More personalized products means a different way to manufacture, a different way to look at production and a different way to communicate between the consumer, the product elements and the factories.”
Industry 4.0 could be an opportunity for apparel retailers as it will allow them to digitize their value chain from factory to consumers. By increasing operational efficiency through disruptive technologies, including Software as Service (SaaS), apparel companies can transition to a more personalized production process. These technologies enable customers to take a more customized and made-to-measure approach, so that they can create better products for consumers and boost profitability.
Lectra’s new SaaS offer, which is set to commercially launch in 2018, will help consumers embrace Industry 4.0. Reinforced by the cloud and capitalizing on data analysis, the new SaaS business model will finely tune integration between equipment, software and services. By enabling the automation of tasks to be performed manually, reinforcing industrial integration with sub-contractors and increasing collaboration between all team members, the SaaS business model will position customers to create relevant goods for their consumers, while efficiently digitizing their supply chains. With an SaaS business model, apparel companies could establish a digital value chain for real time-connections between smart factories, suppliers, creative teams, product development teams and consumers.
Although Industry 4.0 isn’t quite here yet, companies should not remain in the dark, and these days, doing something tomorrow is already too late.
“We believe that in the future, software is valuable,” Harari said. “People can move step by step to industry 4.0.”