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Without consistent standards, the German Economic Institute (IW) reports, a great deal of effort has to go into employees setting up and maintaining product master data. eCl@ss is used by around 3,500 companies worldwide. As an online survey showed, large companies in particular can save millions of euros a year in purchasing. But sales departments and smaller companies also make use of standardization from a financial point of view. A second aspect now seems to be at least equally important: Machines also require consistent standards to communicate with one another. This basis for digital transformation has largely been overlooked until now, however. “The potential of standards like eCl@ss is enormous,” says Pauline Pohl from the IW.

The German Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) also underlines the importance of standardization for Industry 4.0. Norms and industry standards on the basis of which components, machines and systems can communicate securely with one another are essential for successful digital transformation, it says.