This evolution in the way of working involves turning the company into an enormous receiver for capturing relevant information and into a large generator of proposals, all within the performance of the usual tasks, which implies a change of philosophy with respect to what had been done up until now. Extended innovation implicitly entails a change in the way we perceive the business and the environment in which we work.
Ultimately, although it may seem new, we have been working at Lantek with this philosophy of joining forces since our beginnings. That is why our innovation strategy is based on two pillars. On the one hand, our very presence in the markets in which we operate (we have our own offices in 16 countries) to get to know and listen directly and closely to the needs of our customers and, on the other, the development of our own products to meet their expectations. Products that, moreover, can be extended to other users or partners. This is our way of accompanying customers on their way to digital transformation, adapting to their different stages of digital maturity, developing ad hoc solutions.
These two characteristics allow us to have first-hand information from the markets and from the research department for the process of business intelligence and competitive surveillance, which ends up becoming the products and solutions developed entirely in our R&D&I center located in the Basque Country.
Moreover, this model involves an important collective effort and entails the use of a significant amount of financial resources that other models of innovation do not require. But the fruit of this substantial investment is the competitive advantage it generates. The key to extended innovation is being able to anticipate, to predict the needs of the user to prescribe innovative solutions along the whole of the supply chain.
This work model requires flexibility, both of the organization and of each solution developed, to be able to adapt on the fly to changing situations, to be able to focus on doing what is truly necessary in the market, ignoring sterile functionalities, to adapt to the demands of the customer, better and sooner than the competition, and last of all, to be quicker in taking product management decisions, taking into account the needs we perceive in the markets in which we operate.
Extended innovation goes a step further and covers the entire supply chain. Previously, we worked at the level of a single process, but now this is extended to the whole chain, making it more efficient overall thanks to its ability to detect possible contingencies which allow us to act and solve problems before they happen. Something which is quite revolutionary and which will allow us to become more agile and efficient. This is possible thanks to the analysis of the data that the new enablers of Industry 4.0 make available to us through machine sensorization and interconnectivity with the cloud environment. It is what we call "Machine to Cloud", which enables real-time diagnosis, the optimization of resources and processes, shorter production cycles, improved rotation and lower consumption of energy, materials and time, among other things. All this will lead to the Smart Factory.
In conclusion, acquiring external ideas, from customers and suppliers, and combining these with internal ideas, from employees, is the basis on which digital transformation must be sustained in order to produce customized solutions adapted to this changing environment which requires coordination and flexibility to be competitive in Industry 4.0.
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