Specialty Fabrics Review May 2019 - 62

FOCUS

BUSINESS

WHILE WE ARE
TRYING TO
GRASP DIGITAL
MANUFACTURING
AND INDUSTRY
4.0, WE ARE ALSO
EMBARKING ON
INDUSTRY 5.0-
PERSONALIZATION.

THE FOURTH REVOLUTION IS NOW
There is no going back now that we have entire
generations who know only a time where life,
including making and buying things, is done
in real-time by browsing thousands of items
from hundreds of places. In the value stream,
free shipping has replaced feeling, touching
and physically inspecting a product before
making a purchase. It's also difficult to turn
back time on much of the textile knowledge
that's been lost over the past 25 years.
How are machine builders adapting to
this market change and knowledge gap?
They are creating full systems where a central
platform gathers product design data and
plans production, enabling the factory to
control, plan and optimize its production
with limited or no human action. The goal is
increased productivity with computers doing
complex calculations in minutes, unlike a
person who may take hours or days and may
make errors.
In the Fourth Industrial Revolution
knowledge is truly power. Wealth is shifting
from the tangible world to the virtual. The
most valuable companies in the world are data
collecting and distributing mega-companies.
Industry 4.0 connects assets from big data,
social influencers (marketing), customer
information, and online interfaces to
manufacturing and shipping.
NOW IT'S PERSONAL
The time between adapting new technology to
delivering on our growing list of expectations
is getting shorter, and the disruptions in our
workforce are seismic, rather than gradual, as
technology develops faster and faster. While
we are trying to grasp digital manufacturing
and Industry 4.0, we are also embarking on
Industry 5.0-personalization. On-demand
manufacturing. Made-for-me products.
Companies like Nike, Adidas, Ministry
of Supply, Unmade, Ralph Lauren and
others are making customized products on
demand. As physical retailers struggle to
create "shopping experiences," Bloomingdales
worked with Bodymetrics to body-scan
customers. A customer's measurements are
then compared to the jeans measurements in
stock to ensure the customer gets the perfect
fit without having to try on anything. To meet
expectations of instant gratification, getting

62 REVIEW MAY 2019

what they want when they want it, consumers
are trading privacy for convenience.
MANUFACTURING MUST ADAPT
Today, a product can be designed on a
computer and "printed" on a 3D printer
on the other side of the world. Makers
everywhere should be asking:
*How might digitalization disrupt my
corner of the industry in the next five
to 10 years?
*What systems do we need to create so
that data on how customers use our
products feeds back into new design
and improves manufacturing?
*Where is the value of digitalization
for my company?
*In what technology should
my company invest?
*If customers, suppliers and
manufacturing are connected, how
do we protect data from cyber threats?
How do we protect our trade secrets?
*In what skills do we need to train
our existing employees?
*What talents should we be
looking for in the future?
*What happens if we do nothing?
Industry 4.0, like previous industrial
revolutions, is not one-size-fits-all for any
industry. However, one thing seems certain:
As technology advances, consumers are
demanding that change be faster than seems
humanly possible. Artificial intelligence
in every part of the marketing, sales and
manufacturing process is becoming a fact of life
as countries race to automate manufacturing.
Automation levels the competitive field for
products that are labor intensive, especially
in countries with growing environmental
and employee safety concerns.
Connie Huffa is a textile engineer and co-founder of
Fabdesigns Inc. in Malibu, Calif. The company tag line
is: "We liked to knit before it was cool."

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