Industry 5.0: How the Mass Customization Era Can Be the Solution to Overproduction
The industrial revolution started in 1780 and it is evolving until today.
We Welcome Fashion to Industry 5.0.
Most people remember the industrial revolution from history class. We all know that it was a period in human history that deeply changed our society, our economy, and our consumption habits. What most don't realize is that the industrial revolution is far from being a discrete event in history; in fact, it is a continuous movement that started in 1780 and which continues to this day.
The history of all industrial revolutions is like a chicken-egg dilemma. It is difficult to know if the changes in society have prompted deep changes in industry or if, conversely, it was industry that built society as we know it today.
However, there is no doubt that we are living in times of change in terms of industry. If anything, it’s picking up speed. Industrial revolutions are now happening at a faster pace than ever before. In fact, almost 100 years separate the beginning of mechanization (Industry 1.0) from the era of electrification (Industry 2.0).
Considering the proliferation of automation and electronics (Industry 3.0) we are talking about only 70 years and the boom of Industry 4.0 happens less than 40 years later with the growth of Cyber-Physical Systems (CPS) and Internet of Things (IoT). Now, only 20 years later, we are prepared to streamline what could be the new industrial revolution: Industry 5.0. (At this rate we may be entering 6.0 by the end of this blog. We’d better hurry.)
Industrial progress is intrinsically related to social and economic development. Industrial revolutions are almost always related to employment growth, but they also require many people to upskill or shift their focus to new areas of expertise to stay in the game. In fact, reinvention and re-learning are long-term processes not always consistent with the ever-evolving industrial environment, and the loss of value on the labor market, for some people, dictated a feeling of distrust for technological improvements.
Humans Back in the Equation
Industry 5.0 appears to be the key to reconciliation between humans and machines. The main goal is to use the best human creative thinking to solve problems hand in hand with the cognitive perfection of machines to develop processes.
Although most businesses are adopting Industry 4.0 concepts and incorporating computer systems, computers, and software into production, many are still integrating their existing workforce. Rather than firing their employees, they're looking for new areas where human assistance is required and reorganizing their duties to create new roles.
Businesses were concerned that the introduction of Industry 4.0 would result in a reduction in the number of human employees working in manufacturing facilities. Industry 5.0, on the other hand, is trying to reintroduce the human factor back into the equation. Increasing the level of automation on the production floor can actually help reduce job risk by delegating difficult, strenuous, and dangerous tasks to machine learning and artificial intelligence.
Creating a balanced mix of human intelligence and cognitive computing can result in unprecedented gains in production efficiency and process perfection. It's about what manufacturing's future holds, and how the business can plan for it in the coming years. It’s better to get started now, because as we discussed earlier, these revolutions are coming fast and furious.
Industry 5.0 and Customization
We are now shifting from an era of mass production to an era of mass customization, where the primary focus is to create a super-empowered customer. There are multiple ways to take this first step, but companies like PlatformE, focused on the production of Digital Twins and in the consultancy for this new way of production, are already ready to roll.
The main goal of companies like PlatformE is to demonstrate that producing better and producing less is totally feasible, not only in terms of costs but also in terms of customer experience. The key is simple: premium technology and supply-chain knowledge.
Premium digital tools give the client the ability to create their own item, feel engaged in the design process, and enjoy the hyper-realistic experience using only a device and a little imagination. In addition, the wait for their item will be no longer than the wait for a restock of a standard mass-produced product. For brands, the fact that the product is only going to be produced after the purchase means no dead-stock, so no “dead-money”.
Manufacturing at scale results in efficiency and higher productivity. Yet, there are those of us who value our prized possessions and would appreciate our unique signature as a form of self-expression. You can offer personalized items using various levels of software and 3D digital product creation capacities. You can provide more customization options and produce the products efficiently and without any human intervention if you have a way to easily produce in small batches.
Brands are extending the benefits of 3D assets to offer a variety of product combinations at point-of-sale, where customers are invited to customize products to their liking before any physical item is produced. This strategy brings not only customer engagement and satisfaction but also an increase in margins and conversions. Insert cash register noise.
Since neither apparel brands nor most manufacturers are currently well-placed to develop the requisite disruptive technologies, brands will need to start partnering with technology companies and start-ups to develop creative automation and robotic solutions if they are to compete in an increasingly difficult sector.
Companies must carefully choose their approach in order to achieve this, and cross-sector alliances are crucial in this regard. Brands and retailers with ample financial resources should consider investing in technology companies as soon as possible.
Key industry players will compete in the new environment of fashion industry 5.0, which is an automated, high-value-generating fashion industry that is the result of a joint effort between people and technology linked via bold strategies.
With all of these simple but well-structured digital tools, brands can take the first step toward the bold future of Industry 5.0 but, more than that, they will then be two steps ahead in two critical aspects of the future: customer engagement and no deadstock. All of us as consumers, and especially the environment, are very grateful for that.