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Digitalization – a chance for sustainable industrial transformation

Sustainability and competitiveness through digital business processes

Andreas Dangl

Created on 04. August 2022

Digitalisierung als Chance zur nachhaltigen industriellen Transformation
Table of contents

In the face of advancing climate change, companies around the planet are confronted with the challenge of operating in a way that is economically sustainable. Successful digitalization has a key role to play when it comes to complying with important environmental standards and reducing the company’s carbon footprint while also remaining competitive. By digitalizing business processes and designing them to be more resource-efficient, smart software tools support businesses in implementing these kinds of projects along the entire supply chain.


Digitalization drives sustainability

Global climate change and its wider implications for the economy are increasingly prompting industrial companies to rethink their approach. As part of the accompanying move toward greater sustainability, the focus is shifting to reducing harmful carbon emissions along with overall resource consumption. Such measures have a positive impact on the environment while also generating a significant image boost in the eyes of customers and investors.


Smart software products that can be used enterprise-wide are ensuring that these ambitious goals can be achieved. They help to digitalize the entire value chain by optimizing business processes with a view to sustainable, digital transformation.


Digitalization – the path to sustainable industrial projects

Large-scale industrial projects typically involve a number of different stakeholders – including customers, suppliers, certification bodies, and others – with a substantial amount of information being shared among them. Alongside technical documentation and manuals, contracts and permits also need to be submitted on time. Managing this massive amount of documentation demands a tremendous amount of manual effort, particularly if communication is conducted by e-mail.


For this reason, international corporations in the mechanical and plant engineering sector are already investing heavily to digitalize their production processes so that they can intelligently network not just their machines with one another, but also all of the project participants. Smart, cloud-based software makes this possible, bundling all technical data and documents in a single location and granting access to the data at any time and from any location. This means that project-related information can be consolidated and simultaneously leveraged in a way that creates value using digital business processes, thereby transforming large-scale international projects over the long term.


Sustainable quality throughout the supply chain

State-of-the-art quality management is concerned both with internal processes and, from a broader perspective, with environmentally and socially compatible production and services. Supply chains in the manufacturing industry frequently involve a number of external partners who contribute to the overall quality of a product. Correspondingly, actively integrating all suppliers into quality management processes is essential.


This can be done by means of a cross-plant computer-aided quality system (CAQ system), which makes it possible for critical operational aspects – such as incoming and outgoing goods inspection, document management, complaints management, and test equipment management – to be fully digitalized.


Active involvement on the part of all suppliers in the quality management process ultimately leads to quality gains not only in terms of the individual components, but also for the entire product or service. At the same time, the CAQ system secures a resource-efficient supply chain by delivering information to the right people efficiently and preventing errors even before they occur.


A common solution for the entire supply chain

By using a common, process-driven data environment for technical documentation, project communication, and quality management, companies can digitally map the entire lifecycle of their industrial goods. Resource-efficient process optimization is the foundation for sustainable industrial transformation.


The so-called digital product passport (DPP) is proving helpful in this context as part of an EU-wide package of measures to promote resource efficiency. It contains all the information regarding a product’s composition and history, resulting in greater transparency. The common data environment serves as a “single point of truth” that encompasses all of the documents relating to the asset and makes them available for further use. As such, the digital product passport fosters an environmentally sound circular economy, covering everything from sustainable raw material extraction to the proper way to recycle.