Configurable Lines: Converting

The Value of Open Innovation in the Era of Industry 4.0

21.11.2019 | Antonio Mosca | 3 min read Topics | ,

The tissue industry, like any other, has been significantly reshaped by Industry 4.0. A landscape that was once defined and fueled by competition has partially given way to leveraging the practicalities of collaboration.

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The ease with which knowledge is interconnected and shared through digitalization is evidencing itself in sectors across-the-board: homes, offices, worksites, retail environments, city infrastructures, etc. For manufacturing facilities — including tissue converters — the digital transformation of operations and equipment optimization is predicted to have an annual global impact between 1.2 and 3.7 trillion USD by 2025.1

Strategic Digitalization

Manufacturers are embracing the opportunities presented by transitioning to a digital strategy as reflected in a recent IDC poll:

  • 24% cite increased productivity1
  • 23% cite shortening time to market1
  • 22% cite process automation1

Manufacturers are also quickly coming to terms with the fact that digitalization has led to a surge in business model disruptions and new technologies that blur the lines between themselves, their partners, and their competitors.

In the shared knowledge environment of Industry 4.0, manufacturers no longer need to remain autonomous to remain competitive. Attempting to do so presents a number of challenges, including:

  • High upfront capital expenditures
  • High risk of design/product failure
  • Limited digital experience, resources, and skills

Overcoming these obstacles is necessary — and possible, thanks to open innovation.

The Benefits of Open Innovation

Instead of strictly following traditional methodologies surrounding internal product development, tissue manufacturers are turning to open innovation.

Proactively sharing knowledge and efforts with fellow manufacturers, research facilities, start-ups, and incubators,  and/or collaborating internally with customers, is mutually beneficial to all involved in four important ways:

  1. More productive, lower-cost R&D that relies on collaboration with and contributions from external organizations for knowledgeable and fresh perspectives that may not be achieved in a timely way — if at all — using traditional internal development/innovation methods. 

  2. Balanced risk mitigation that apportions the reward and risk of innovation among all collaborators to encourage ideation and trial by reducing the impact of mis-steps on any one resource base.

  3. Improved products and services since there is impetus behind simultaneously developing multiple ideas instead of start-and-stop of progress while one innovation waits for another product or service to catch up with its needs, especially as it relates to technology and/or customer demand.

  4. Accelerated time to market that results from parallel task management among all innovators, effectively bypassing typical internal development glitches like budget or testing delays that derail launches. This multi-path approach also aids in getting subsequent products to market faster.

Open Innovation in Action

Open innovation isn’t a new concept, but it has paved the way for using collaborative innovation to its best advantage in Industry 4.0, and the tissue industry.

Fabio Perini works in tandem with customers to search for innovative ideas, work with external partners with common innovation goals, and ultimately harness collaborative ideas. Two ways we continue to promote and leverage open innovation include:

  • Tomorrow Lab, the Fabio Perini innovation hub dedicated to the world of emerging digitalization and, specifically, developing the countless possibilities which arise from Industry 4.0. As an open innovation laboratory, Tomorrow Lab is focused on sharing information and knowledge with and through suppliers, start-ups, universities, and research-based institutions, whose purpose is to generate innovation.

  • Hackathon participation,  e.g., the new Manuthon (Manufacturing Hackhaton concept) that allowed Fabio Perini to continuously meet potential young employees/digital talents as well as gather new ideas.

  • Start-ups scouting in order to identify national and international potential partners. In 2019 Fabio Perini scouted 200+ start-ups, and hosted @Tomorrow Lab, a pitch day with 25 start-ups who were selected from among many hundreds.

Industry 4.0 is premised on digitalization and open innovation, and tissue manufacturers that embrace the evolution are well-positioned for the future. Learn more about  transforming equipment, services, and solutions for the modern era in our ebook, Digital Tissue: Harnessing the Power of Industry 4.0



1Gartner, Ericsson, IDC, McKinsey, AT, Kearney, quoted in Open Innovation PowerPoint presentation, Antonio Mosca, Undated 



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