Every two months Wim van de Beld (CEO Betech Group) writes a short blog about subjects which the entire manufacturing industry has to deal with or will have to deal with in short term. It’s written from the perspective of a production company which wants to stay ahead in terms of innovative production techniques and level of knowledge. MADE IN HOLLAND is the ongoing theme in all of the blogs.

What does Industry 4.0 mean in concrete terms?

Everybody speaks of Industry 4.0, Smart Industry, Internet of Things, but what does it actually mean for us? What effect does it have on sharing information with customers or competitors?

In this case we will discuss a manufacturing company. First of all the company has to add value to the chain. In other words; you are specialist. You have to share your knowledge with your customers and your customers with you. It’s 100% giving, but also 100% taking. Unilaterally it will never work.

Not afraid to share knowledge

As a company you have to share your knowledge and experience with customers who develop their own products. On the other side; your client has to share as much as possible about the product development in an early stage. Think of the application, the assembly process, but also targets imposed in terms of pricing, quality and expected quantities. There is a certain border which both supplier and customer have to overcome to feel comfortable sharing all this knowledge. The result of this open information is a more agile product development, with higher quality and even a lower price.


Geographically speaking customer and supplier have to be closer together.

Nearshoring will be more and more important. As a result of this process robotization will increase rapidly to improve quality continuity and at the same time it will decrease the added value by labour. Integrating Industry 4.0 with companies which are thousands of kilometres apart from each other will not be easy. This presents many opportunities.

Real-time process insight

The fact remains that as a company you must be able to provide sufficient functional knowledge to your customer. Before and during the production process, it has to be crystal clear what happens with the products. It’s preferred to provide a real-time view on relevant information. Concrete examples are:

  • Which specific material is used (chemical composition) and what is the material source?
  • What are the tolerances of the currently produced products?
  • How stable is the production and what are the possible reasons of failure?
  • What is the real-time delivery time of the present production?

In this way, the customer does not need to ask when he will get his products and the supplier does not need to ask when he has to supply materials or tools. It is all instantly insightful and clear. The Betech Group is working very hard to realise all of this.

Opportunities manufacturing industry

There is still a lot of work to be done, but we are sure it’s going to happen! In my opinion; companies that offer all sorts of services, but don’t excel in a specialism will have a very hard time.

If the entire supply chain invests in a well-timed implementation, MADE IN HOLLAND will stay highly competitive in comparison to low-wage countries. There are huge opportunities for the manufacturing industry, but you have to be willing to put in a lot of time and effort and you should not be afraid to share knowledge.