Industry 4.0: what are the key success factors to become a digital factory?

A joint study by PwC and Agence du Numérique about the maturity and evolution of Industry 4.0 in Wallonia

Two years ago PwC Belgium and Flanders Make issued a first report called Industry 4.0: hype or reality? The current state of play in Flemish manufacturing. The research confirmed that no industrial company can afford to ignore the fundamental changes that Industry 4.0 will generate. 

Last year we looked into the Belgian start-up et scale-up ecosystem with our report The Perspective of Start-ups and Scale-ups in Belgium.

This year, we decided to deep dive into Industry 4.0 state of play in Wallonia, together with Agence du Numérique, a public service body that is completely dedicated to Wallonia’s digital transformation.

Industry 4.0: what are the key success factors to become an industry of the future?

The objectives of the study

We’ve surveyed a panel of 26 companies active in various industries (food, construction, automotive, pharma, chemicals, etc) and representing a total turnover of 11 billions euro.

  • The primary objective was to identify the key success factors to become an industry of the future. 
  • Secondly, we wanted to assess the strengths of the Wallonia ecosystem and its network.
  • Finally the report will help to promote innovation in Wallonia and its industrial sector.
External factors are the drivers of a continuous digital transformation

External factors are the drivers of a continuous digital transformation

73% of respondents mention that the pressure on their costs is the main driver to undertake a digital transformation

The main drivers leading to the implementation of Industry 4.0 initiatives are external changes affecting the organisation, such as market pressure, customer requirements and pressure on the value chain.

The financial and organisational benefits are visible

87% of respondents see positive impacts of their investments, mainly in terms of production efficiency and cost reductions

The last two years, digital leaders have invested on average 8% of their total turnover per year in their digital transformation. They plan to continue investing about 10% of their turnover per year in the next five years. Clearly, their motivation is the positive return of investment they expect.

Top five benefits of Industry 4.0

Today’s technologies and further investments

85% of the companies invest in robotisation

The high level of this percentage can be explained by the benefits of robotisation: improved workforce performance and reduced arduousness of tasks. As you can read below, the human factor plays a key role in a successful transformation.

The human is at the centre of the transformation

It’s no big surprise that the human should be in the centre of the transformation.

Industry 4.0 represents a cultural and human challenge, as much as a technology challenge. The success of a transformation relies on the human factor. Not considering this aspect will slow down the transformation or worse, lead the process to fail.



"Technologies and Industry 4.0 initiatives are not a purpose for an organisation but a way to reach its objectives."

George BlackmanCEO of Realco


What are the key success factors?

If an organisation wants to thrive and successfully reap the benefits of its transformation, there are the steps to follow.

  1. Develop a Proof of Concept to validate the technology and to strengthen trust towards the solution and the positive impacts of industry 4.0. 
  2. Define a clear roadmap, aligned with its digital strategy. 
  3. Involve the team, and all the people from the organisation, from the start. 
  4. Develop collaboration to support the internal R&D team to unlock the value of the technologies

The key stakeholders in digital transformation projects

Contact us

Jochen Vincke

Jochen Vincke

Partner, PwC Belgium

Tel: +32 477 61 12 22

Johan Van der Straeten

Johan Van der Straeten

Director, PwC Belgium

Tel: +32 474 48 47 55

Maxime Boucquiaux

Maxime Boucquiaux

Manager, PwC Belgium

Tel: +32 472 90 10 36

Connect with PwC Belgium