The perspective of start-ups and scale-ups in Belgium
of respondents stated their solution will improve operational performance
said that the maturity of the technology was key in setting up their businesses
mention IoT as the most commonly adopted technology
feel that the industry does not yet fully understand the value of the technology offered
Following our investigation into the maturity of Industry 4.0 in Flanders by questioning industrial companies about their Industry 4.0 expectations, strategies and progress - Industry 4.0: hype or reality? -, for this 2018 study, we looked at another important stakeholder in the Belgian ecosystem: the start-ups and scale-ups offering solutions to help industrial companies embrace the benefits of their digital transformation.
By understanding their challenges to scale up, as well as their needs within an effective ecosystem, we want to bridge the gap between larger industrial companies and smaller solution providers.
Start-ups are ambitious and generally view Belgium as an exploration market within which to test their products and strategies before breaking into larger markets.
Operational performance is only a subpart of Industry 4.0 and won’t singlehandedly bring companies to full ‘digital champion’ maturity.
PoCs provide the client with a real-world view of a product’s application and are therefore an important step in building a business relationship with a company.
Respondents feel the ecosystem needs to place more emphasis on scaling. Areas for improvement also include deeper industrial expertise and input.
Start-ups and industrial companies need to intensify collaboration and rethink existing processes with a new approach. Belgian manufacturing can only prosper when both parties work together to achieve a common objective.
Different players are active within the ecosystem. More than three out of five companies show high awareness of the different organisations with which they can eventually collaborate to expand their business. Incubators remain the best known in terms of awareness, along with universities and governmental initiatives.
However, collaboration with incubators is not as high as the awareness of them. In terms of collaboration, preferred organisations from which our respondents seek support remain universities and initiatives provided by the government, followed closely by communities and partnerships.
Image : Key success factors for scaling-up
“We need to keep on educating our clients on the ‘think big’ mindset to be able to scale our own company.”
Image : What are common misunderstandings (e.g. from clients) when it comes to the adoption of Industry 4.0?
While respondents indicate that many companies are still cautious in adopting Industry 4.0 - of those surveyed, 43% feel that the industry does not yet fully understand the (added value of the) technology that’s offered - there’s a positive sign in that they also believe that industrial companies understand that investments are required and that immediate results are unlikely.
Showcasing offerings via proofs of concept enable industry players to explore the added value of a solution and help build trust in technology.