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Succeeding in Engineering 4.0: 5 pitfalls to anticipate and ideas for getting out of them

1.The administrative black hole

There are still a few administrative black holes that absorb so much energy and time from contractors that they can be fatal for a project. Indeed, some administrations are obsolete, lacking in resources and efficiency and in some cases suffering from severe corruption, which sometimes gives the impression that they are redoubling their efforts to make life hard for their users. For example, you have to file a request, but you are only given partial information about the requirements, something is always missing, your files drag on indefinitely for multiple reasons ... in short, a real sink of time. The solution is to set aside enough time but also to make appeals for help to administrations and structures that function well but also private incubators, investment aid and support networks.

2. Country branding

Tunisia is making very commendable efforts to enter the world of Industry 4.0 technologies, but it is not yet a renowned hub, either nationally or internationally. Sometimes, this poses some unexpected problems for the isolated entrepreneur. Thus, administrations, suppliers and foreign partners risk not taking the project seriously and seeing Tunisia as an insignificant market. Foreign component suppliers - almost all of them in this area of ​​technology - who can ignore you because you are not a target market, refuse to travel to Tunisia, but also administrations which do not understand the project, cause problems and significant delays. A solution includes clustering and working together in pools creates small vortices able to better attract partners, especially foreigners, and give weight to project teams. It is also important to have faith in ourselves and to be ambitious, in order to be able to convince others and lead the change.

3. User culture versus designer culture

Historically, Tunisia has been a user of technology. Most industrial machines are imported from abroad. Technical culture, vocational and university education, are focused on the conduction and maintenance of industrial systems. It is fundamental to start learning to design and create complete machines in learning centers, vocational training centers, universities and companies. Knowledge, methods and thoughts are indeed very different and cannot be invented, but learned. This goes hand in hand with the development of a culture of creation, creativity and research. Once again, starting by convincing ourselves that R&D is - also for us Tunisians - an essential first step.

4. Training in R&D methods

In the absence of young people trained in the appropriate techniques, it is necessary to take into account a need for continuous training within the framework of a 4.0 project so that the team acquires the right techniques and the right reflexes. Indeed, finding oneself in front of the blank sheet to create a product from scratch is a destabilizing situation if you do not have the right methods of development, cooperation and project management. Worse, during the course of the project, and the multiple iterations required, method or management errors can be fatal. Finally, due to our culture of subcontracting, which has long represented the majority of our activities, the direct relationship with a client, the understanding of his needs, support and validations throughout the project are also activities that are unfamiliar for many. This is a fundamental set of competence for the success of a product. The good news is that it can be learned, and it works.

5. Cooperation

Finally, in the face of the many challenges, having a good support network can really be decisive for the success of a project. These are members of the administration, partners and suppliers, customers, universities and training centers, peers in the industry. This is an essential asset for gaining more weight, convincing administrations, negotiating with suppliers and partners, influencing training centers, exchanging best practices, and finally, changing a user culture to a designer culture.

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