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Digital transformation is not an option but a necessity that must be done

Güncelleme tarihi: 1 May

Using information and communication technologies, production can be entirely independent of humans, which can be considered as Industry 4.0. In other words, we can consider Industry 4.0 smart systems as an autonomy system supported by artificial intelligence applications. Industry 4.0 will bring many innovations to business and lifestyle, but there will also be some challenges during the transition period. The foremost challenge during the transition period is to implement the right practices. Finding and implementing the correct solution is not easy because the subject is new not only in Turkey but also globally. It should be understood that if any of the components of Industry 4.0, which consist of Mechanical & Robotics, Electrical & Automation, and Information & Communication, are missing or not working in full harmony, the right solution cannot be achieved. Taking into account these components, we can consider Industry 4.0 smart systems as an autonomy system supported by artificial intelligence applications.

Transitioning to digitalization and Industry 4.0 is important because digital transformation is not an option but a necessity. Therefore, the transition of our industry to digitalization and Industry 4.0 should be the top priority.

Otherwise, our industry may become unable to compete with countries that have transitioned to production methods with Industry 4.0, and we may never reach the level of those firms again. In labor-intensive countries like Turkey, there are certainly points that must be paid attention to during the transition to Industry 4.0. Firstly, it is necessary for the public sector, private sector, national education (universities), and NGOs to come together to create solutions. Because digitalization and Industry 4.0 revolve around humans. When transitioning from physical work to mental work, there should be a joint strategy and implementation carried out by the public sector, NGOs, private sector, and education system from start to finish. Although Turkey is a labor-intensive country, the transition to digitalization and Industry 4.0 should be a priority; otherwise, we will fall behind in just a few years. All stakeholders should come together to create solutions. There are differences between developed countries and others globally. While countries like Germany, Japan, and the USA are leading the way, we can say that China is also among the leading countries in this regard. These countries have goals for digitalization and Industry 4.0 for 2025-2030 and are investing heavily in this field to progress. These countries spend tens of billions of dollars/euros each year on digitalization and Industry 4.0 projects. Globally, Turkey can be said to be at the same level of awareness as the world. However, when it comes to implementation and investments, unfortunately, we cannot say that we are where we want to be yet. Because while advanced countries allocate tens of billions of budgets, in order not to fall behind in this race, we also need to allocate these budgets and implement the most appropriate strategies. Some recent decisions made by the public sector may be appropriate and may accelerate the transition to digitalization and Industry 4.0. However, it is necessary for the public sector, private sector, national education (universities), and NGOs to come together to create solutions first.

Especially considering Turkey's technological infrastructure such as information technology and automation, we can say that Turkey is somewhat ready to transition to Industry 4.0. Although we have deficiencies when considering technological knowledge, qualified workforce, and financial structures during the transition, it is not an impossible situation. In order to achieve successful results in the transition to Industry 4.0, we must develop planning, organization, and cooperation as all stakeholders. Due to the fact that the majority of the companies that make up the economy in Turkey are in the SME status, we need a special approach for SMEs. We must progress by creating regulations, incentives, and strategies that facilitate the transition to digitalization and Industry 4.0 for SMEs, which are critically important. Because SMEs definitely need help in terms of correctly implementing Digital Transformation and Industry 4.0 and creating resources while implementing them. This support should be provided by the state. University-industry cooperation should be increased. It is not possible to say that university-industry cooperation is effectively conducted in Turkey during the transition to Industry 4.0. Although some universities make various collaborations with good intentions, unfortunately, there are very few examples reflected in practice. University-industry cooperation that has been talked about for years must be established. Because universities must be a real part of industry. Practical applications should affect the careers of academic staff as much as scientific articles. Practical training should take place at universities. For example, in Germany, universities that develop products together with companies send a certain number of their students to companies throughout the year. There should be some sub-disciplines that can be applied in life at universities that mix this structure. We are sure that other definitions will emerge between computer engineering and electronic engineering to apply computer infrastructure to the industry. Qualified personnel must be available for Industry 4.0 and automation. Practical education at the vocational high school, college, and university level should be encouraged.

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