Digital Transformation: Digitalization Push of the Corona Crisis as an Opportunity

The digital transformation is experiencing a real boost from the Corona crisis. Mechanical engineering and automation companies such as KUKA see this as an opportunity and identify potential for new business fields.

16 July 2020

Processes are becoming more transparent and can be digitally optimized - without any physical presence. Consequently, more and more companies are investing in their digital infrastructure and in the qualification of their employees. KUKA is using this time to digitalize its own sales channels. Consumer sales channels are already very much digitalized. But when it comes to complex capital goods such as industrial robots or very specific requirements of business customers, consulting and sales are still very much offline.

Digital sales channels are the future. Many of our business partners are currently working from their home offices. The motivation to deal with digital offers is currently incredibly high on both the customer and employee side.

Michael Otto, Sales Director of KUKA's Robotics division

Digitalization as the basis for data-based optimization

Digitalization is the basis for a successful fourth industrial revolution. Only when production facilities have been digitalized can they be connected and data-based optimization takes place. KUKA is now taking the next step with the digital customer portal my.KUKA: "We have created an online platform that digitalizes our sales channels and customer relationships," says Otto. The customer portal is the central contact point for system partners, customers and interested parties. It contains detailed information about products and services, and customers can register their KUKA products here and submit a service request if required. Licenses for the KUKA Xpert knowledge database can also be purchased. It contains a wide range of technical documentation. The offer of configuring products online and ordering via the Marketplace is being continuously expanded.

Digitalization is the basis for Industry 4.0

Digitalization cannot be achieved alone

However, digitalizing their own channels is not enough. "Due to the rapid technological developments, individual companies, no matter how large they are, are not in a position to cope with digitization on their own. Silo thinking must be a thing of the past," says Dr. Christian Liedtke, who is responsible for Strategic Alliances at KUKA. "In allianc-es such as the Open Industry 4.0 Alliance, which we founded with SAP and other companies, the individual players can contribute their various strengths. Ultimately, everyone benefits from this".

Opening up new business fields

When digital information is collected from different value-added components, a great deal of data is available. By using analysis tools, they can lead to improvements in processes and thus to increased efficiency. However, digitalization is more than just a tool for increasing efficiency. With Big Data, companies will open up new business areas and new business models. Trends can be identified at an early stage, products can be optimized specifically according to customer requirements and new service models can be created. Digital images of products, processes and production facilities can be used to simulate options for action and optimize them until they are ready for decision-making.

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