December 2020


The road to Industry 4.0

Contributed by: TEMBO & Perron038

By definition, “to innovate” means to create change in something that is existing by adding new methods, ideas or products. Arguably the most important reasons behind building innovative capability within business are that new ideas and methodologies are crucial to enable and maintain growth. It is also critical to remaining competitive in a modern fast changing market that is so common in today’s world, even more so due to the implications of Covid-19. 


Studies and surveys, such as the McKinsey Global Innovation Survey, show that while 84% of executives deem innovation as critical for success, fewer than 6% of them are actually satisfied with their innovation performance. What we may be seeing here is a misunderstanding of innovation, or a misconstrued idea of how to genuinely think innovatively. 

Innovation does not only mean the creation of new and exciting breakthrough products and services, allowing us to enter new markets. Innovation can also enable greater value in existing products and services that are offered, resulting in increased performance and desirability for the end user or market. Behind the scenes, we see innovation playing a crucial role in continuously improving existing business practices, as well as being used to create new and better models. 


Effective partnerships drive innovation  

There are several key benefits in collaborating on innovation rather than acting alone. These include exposure to new approaches; potential for specialisation; reduction in costs and time to market; increased persistence of innovation; and increased comfort with risk taking. Collaborating with other businesses and with research organisations enables more novel and commercially beneficial applications of innovative concepts. Partnerships can be the key driver of innovation and we should not underestimate the power to be gained in collaborating with like-minded, non-competing companies.  

“At Tembo, we provide manufacturing solutions for mass-market single use products. Our focus is on bringing solutions for products that contribute to our planet in a positive way, for instance by providing technology to make safer and / or biodegradable variants of existing products. 

One of our current biggest challenges is to provide high speed solutions able to make billions of high-quality biodegradable paper straws that will replace the hundreds of billions of plastic straws that litter our planet every year. As a first step, it is of course crucial to understand the market, the final product and the expectations of the consumer. Also, the position governments take on replacing single use plastics, and the requirements that are put by regulatory bodies on the product itself are of a major influence. 

When it gets to creating the technical solution to this challenge, we try to maximize the potential of Industry 4.0 in this process. Data capturing, data analytics and output analytics (learning) are crucial factors to be able to come up with reliable and well-functioning technology in a short time. It would never be possible to achieve any of these results in this short time if we were not partnering with other companies, universities and innovation centers such as Fraunhofer Project Center.  

Already in its first -Corona influenced- year, we at Tembo see the benefit and the huge potential of this way of working and it certainly will open up the way to even closer cooperation with the Fraunhofer Project Center in Enschede

Arend van der Sluis.

Perron038 was created to enhance the collaboration between different companies, educational institutions and other innovation centers in the region, as well as create development programs on topics related to Industry 4.0.

An Innovation Hub in Zwolle

The newly established open innovation centre in Zwolle aims to bring manufacturing companies together to boost innovations. Tembo, AWL and Wadinko, the founding fathers of this regional hub, plan to create a smart space where innovative companies can meet and inspire each other.


Marius Woldberg has been appointed to make the hub successful. “In this hub, all parties that can contribute to innovation come together.
In addition to the founding parties, research and educational organisations have committed themselves to this initiative. For instance, the Fraunhofer Project Center will be one of the technology partners and will share knowledge on high-tech manufacturing technologies.”


“Developments in technologies are taking place at an increasing pace. For individual manufacturing companies, it is becoming more and more difficult to keep up and to develop the applications to meet their customers’ changing specifications. The required flexibility and adaptive capabilities will be achieved more easily when companies work together” said Woldberg. Contributors to Perron038 will work on their own innovation projects and on joint projects. Perron038 acts as facilitator to make these collaborations creative, effective and efficient

“It quickly became apparent that partnerships with other innovation centres, like the Fraunhofer Project Center and the Open Innovation Center - AMC were inspiring rapid growth in innovative ideas and methodologies across the board. Each participant shared their own unique contributions. Each gained far more from the collaborative experience than they had originally anticipated. There was no downside. It became clear that this approach to innovation would be highly beneficial to both regions.”

Marius Woldberg

Collaboration is not only the sharing of technological tools, or the cultural willingness to work together to come up with new ideas, it’s the coming together of both of these in addition to sharing existing innovations that members have developed to solve their unique problems that makes the Innovative Hub work. When you combine them, you unlock tremendous power. Now is the time to start turning that key.