Efficiency for Sustainability

The use of Tehcnologies 4.0 to set a sustainable business

The question is can we proceed with digital transformation, disruptive technology and preserve the sustainability of the point of view of the industry, the market, the economic environment, the social system, but overall of the world?


I hope so, and I have a substantial paradigm on this question: the technology well used can help us to make more efficiency which meaning reduce the waste of resources.


Well! How do we do this?


In these last years we talk about industry 4.0, new technology as IoT, Big Data, Cloud and so on. All of these concepts or technologies would be a big help but alone doesn’t give the solution.

The technology has always been the result of the human scientific efforts to improve the effectiveness of the actions in the quotidian life; it’s only an important tool but it isn’t the solution.


Oh my God! What should I do?


First, you think. We have an important advantage, we have a brain! To better use the technologies, it’s necessary to start from the analysis of the processes. If we introduce disruptive technology without improve the efficiency of the processes, we would fail. Technology could have the potential of amplifying the problems present in the processes. For these reasons it’s important to start from the innovation of organization.


What are the challenges that a management consultant will have to overcome?


Among the many challenges that I faced, I chose three of them:

  • Belief in the past practices
  • Absolute trust in what we do
  • Resilience to new.

First, the belief in the past practice, this is a big problem of the old occidental economies that have a deep-rooted in their industrial history. If one side the occidental economies have a strong and rich culture which helped them to build a solid and durable economic system from other side the past become a limit to the change. Some occidental businessmen are so chained to their past experiences that they don’t see the new opportunities offered by the innovation. This impasse can create serious barriers to the improvement of the organization and of the processes of the companies, especially in the case of Small Business Enterprise. In this case the management consultant must be a sort of evangelist of the change and has the not easy task of getting out the wastes that could be removed.


Second, absolute trust in what we do, it’s a sort of blindness to the fact that making mistakes is human and that the world isn’t perfect. The wise man asks more times in a day if what he is doing is the best way to do it, he reflects on the possibility that there is a better solution or choice. The management consultant must help the businessman to critically analyze his organization to verify if there is room for improvement. In my experiences a critical analysis gives always information to improve efficiency.


Third, resilience to new, it’s the most difficult challenge to face. It’s a psychological aspect. Everyone is against the change when it brakes his old routine. The routine is comfortable, the news creates new challenges that don’t always wish to deal. In these years I heard many and many stupid comments on the introductions of the new technologies, but none of them stopped them: there will be a reason!  In this case it’s necessary to find some sponsors of the change inside the company. Who can they be? Those people in the companies who have benefits from introduction of the new, in front of everyone the businessmen or CEOs when they understand the opportunities and the economic results of the introduction of the innovation.


When we overcome these challenges, we are ready to improve the efficiency of the processes and use those technologies according to the particular conditions.

In a process we can find more and more cause of waste of resources. We must be as a detective and analyze the process in all its aspects. We don’t stop to the high level, but we need to go deeply. We will notice that the wastes affect the most unexpected resources. We go to know some of them.


Time: is absolutely one of the greatest wastes. Everyone says: “I don’t have enough time!”. Seneca, Latin Philosopher, said “you have enough time when you will use it better”.  Time isn’t limitless, we have 24 hours in a day, if we use it better we have more hours for our free time. This isn’t good? Is this a sustainable way to live our life?


Paper: when you go in an office watch how much paper is on the desk and try to understand how much is necessary for the job. I want to challenge you, very few about 10% with the use of new technologies. We can work in office with digital documents, they don’t have problems to recycling, they don’t cut the trees, they don’t need of physical space. Is it enough for helping a sustainability world? I think so!


Material: produce with low quality it means to waste more material and therefore primary resources. The bad quality is synonymous of production processes wrong designed with low efficiency. The primary resources aren’t endless, every waste is an attack to sustainability of the world.

Money: that’s strange, why do we talk about this resource? Inefficiencies increase the costs and reduce the money but not just, they get worse the cash flow for the time delays of the economic procedures. These critical issues create the conditions to increase the gain based on financial and speculative operations instead of on productive activities. The effects are the probability to create a speculative bubble and great capitals instead of the conditions for an equally distributed economic welfare.


When we do efficiency how can help us the technology?


In this article we take in consideration the three ultimate disruptive technologies: IoT, Big Data e Cloud.


Internet of Things: the integration in network of different devices, the interaction and communication among them create, the basis to support the efficiency of processes with a better data exchange. The application of this technology can reduce some resources involved in many different business activities both in the production and in office work. IoT is the solution to have in real time the information that we need everywhere they are and whenever we want. The intelligence of devices gives the possibility to interact with them in dual mode transmission receiving and sending data. Utilizing this potential, we can have much information about the use of the products and so we can quantify the use value. Does it seem like a small thing? I think that this possibility it’s very disruptive if it used correctly. In this way, we can produce efficient and effective products based on the real their utilization removing all the functionality and characteristics which are useless. The outcomes: less wastes of resources, less recycling of material, less energy consumption, more products tailored on the user with the consequence of a improved and sustainable life.


Big Data: when we have a world-wide network that integrate many and many intelligent devices as logical consequence we have an enormous quantity of data. The data are useful when they give us useful information. So Big Data are a very important when we analyze them in scientifically. The data analyst scientists have really the task to give value to the data based on their application field. Recently the Big Data are associated with Predictive Analysis based on Artificial Intelligence. Well to have more information and the possibility to predict the future situations give us the opportunity to do better choices avoiding wastes of time, materials and energy. We can decide better and in sustainably by having more good information that guide us.


Cloud: the car sharing of ICT. I’m sorry for my bad similitude but my thoughts go automatically towards a concept to sharing the processing and archive power. The cloud with its services: SaaS (Software as a Service), DaaS (Data as a Service) and HaaS (Hardware as a Service) with the other declinations Iaas (Infrastructure as a Service) and PaaS (Platform as a Services), gives a set of opportunities to access a big informatic power at low cost. This is the democracy of the ICT. The cloud gives the possibility to small, medium enterprise to use ICT before unthinkable with the subsequent benefits for their business. This solution creates the conditions for less costs, less wastes of hardware, more efficiency in consumption of information and communication technologies, and more sustainability for the smallest enterprises in the investments in Information technologies.


What should we do tomorrow?


First of all we have to check our company and to ask ourselves: are our processes efficient?; do we use effectively the resources?; do we use the information technologies at the best?


The answers to these questions are right a beginning to a new way to do business towards the sustainability.