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The Transition from Manufacture to Smart Production

Businesses and their processes should always be seen in the context of their environment, as they influence
one another. Successful business management therefore requires on the one hand knowledge of this
environment and on the other hand a reaction to it and its constant changes that is adapted to the company‘
s goals. But what do we mean by environment? A business’s environment comprises, for example,
laws, suppliers, ecological aspects and technological trends, plus customers and their requirements. The
individual components not only directly influence the business – they also mutually influence one another.
As an example: new environmental regulations change customer demand, and therefore also technical
development. Similarly, new technical possibilities can have an effect on customer requirements, and
therefore demand patterns. Product requirements are constantly changing. In the days of manufacture, it
was still sufficient that products were of high quality and unique, whereas during industrialisation, quality,
price and availability were the decisive factors. Lots of people wanted products which had previously
been unavailable to them. But today, these aspects are no longer enough. Smartification is the topic of
the moment. Terms such as smartphone, smart watch and similar have become part of everyday life – now
smart production also follows. Everything’s becoming smart. But why?
The aim of this article is to provide insights into the background behind this development, and to point
out the resulting effects on production and the related challenges for businesses.