Matthias Volm

6 min reading time

What is the added value for partners to participate?

In times of digital transformation, we have come to the conclusion that industrial companies have to cooperate much more to be successful. However, previous initiatives by individual machine builders have too often ended in silo concepts. These initiatives are often only technology-driven and primarily cover the needs of the machine manufacturer, but not the needs of the customer. By silos, I mean closed individual solutions for the manufacturer's machines and at the same time the operator of the system. These silos are often unable to communicate with other systems or exchange data. Even if all suppliers promise that data exchange is not a technical problem, they are all looking at their own "world domination" with their system.

The pitfall here lies in the clarification of data ownership and the development of attractive business models for all involved parties. This requires open, digital ecosystems with clear rules on data ownership and exchange. Only under such clear conditions, there will be incentives for many stakeholders to participate in such an ecosystem.

"Digital platforms and ecosystems are here to stay. Their arrival has heralded tremendous new opportunity, but also new dilemmas, challenges and questions for businesses (established and aspiring)..." (Source: WEF Digital Platforms and Ecosystems 2019)

And what does this mean for the wood industry?

tapio offers companies in the wood industry an environment for the digitization that scales according to the use. Besides, many common foundations are laid once, and not everyone needs to invent the world over again. This concerns the technological basics like connectivity of machines and data processing through to app development as well as billing and payment by credit card.

tapio offers companies a completely new approach that allows them to focus entirely on developing and delivering digital solutions based on their expertise. This can even be done with relatively simple initial steps, where not much digitization know-how is required. From the integration into existing products to the sale of your own application in the tapio store.

New partners can marvel at the first results of their activities within a few days and, for example, provide the first machine data in the tapio ecosystem and offer this as a solution for condition monitoring to their customers. The partner does not have to worry about the technical IoT platform and its security concept and can at the same time rely on the regulations of data ownership. The concept even includes invoicing and billing of the services offered to the customer. Thus, a company in the wood industry will find an optimal partner in tapio in terms of investment and a fast ramp-up phase.

On this basis, the partner can then focus on the customer benefit and actively shape the digital transformation instead of having to learn to master various technologies. Technology becomes a means to an end and not an end in itself: offering customer benefits and generating sales.

But then how?

As a manufacturer of machines, panels, fittings, tools, edges or adhesives, you should first clearly define your value proposition concerning Industry 4.0. The first step is that the management addresses the topic and defines a target picture based on initial experience. This should make it clear how digital solutions will extend, improve or even completely replace today's hardware products in the future.

With the possibilities of digitization and industry 4.0, it quickly becomes apparent that a lot of technical, legal and commercial solutions are needed in addition to the strategy and the target image to be able to offer the future solutions. This raises questions about the right IoT platform as well as the tax treatment of a digital product. At this point, it becomes clear to many companies that digital transformation cannot be a small project. It is instead a long journey, which can cause enormous costs depending on the chosen path. However, the company actually only wants to concentrate on the development of its own digital products and services and not generate additional reactive power.

What characterizes customer benefits?

We are constantly confronted with the challenge that our users such as carpenters and furniture/kitchen producers expect comprehensive solutions. For this reason, true added customer value in the Industry 4.0 sector can only be generated with holistic solutions. This brings us back to the point of the currently marketed silo solutions. This means that each machine builder operates his own IoT solution and therefore several IoT solutions that cannot communicate with each other are represented in the customer's shop floor. In our opinion, this is the wrong way to go.

In the meantime, more and more software houses are communicating the importance of open ecosystems and even the platform Industry 4.0 recommends the design of digital ecosystems in its mission statement 2030:


Industry 4.0 in the wood industry must be able to exchange data between different machines, IT systems of the customer as well as the manufacturers of tools and materials. tapio has made it its business to depict this colorful reality of the customer (different machines in the shop floor using various tools and materials) in the digital world and at the same time to allow a clearly regulated data exchange. In this way, we automatically put our partners in a position to expand their own business models and to cooperate with other companies in the timber industry within tapio's ecosystem.

How can something like that look concrete?

Here I would like to give the example of the edge banding process: the edge banding of an edge to a workpiece can be ensured with high quality if the interaction of the milling cutter, the adhesive, the edge and the workpiece in the machine is based on optimum coordination. All involved manufacturers, from the tool and material to the machine, have important information and immense experience with their products. If we can correctly combine the proper information of the machine to the specific tools and materials in real time and at the same time can draw on the experience of the manufacturers, we will optimize this process in all dimensions. This requires a space where partners can work together on solutions for the best edge banding process based on clear rules. This space is provided by tapio. The advantages of tapio for the partners are apparent. Only through cooperation real customer benefit in the context of industry 4.0 can be created for the customer. For this, we need a space with clear rules. We speak of an open, digital ecosystem. The costs of this have to be considered not only in terms of technology but also in terms of legal clarity and commercial processing. This open, digital ecosystem for the timber industry with clear rules was developed by tapio.

What are the benefits for partners?

In summary, tapio offers new partners three essential advantages.
  • Due to tapio's advance investment in the technological, legal and commercial fundamentals, the partners do not have to make a high investment. The partners use the existing ecosystem for a usage fee and can generate their own digital turnover with their services via tapio.
  • A quick start into the first digital services is achieved by integration into existing solutions. tapio provides manufacturer-independent products to increase transparency, in service improvement and in the area of tools and materials. These are tapio products, which are open to partners and the revenues generated are distributed accordingly.
  • All partners can develop their own services to enable the optimization and better use of their products. This allows partners to concentrate fully on developing their services with high customer value. tapio provides the required infrastructure from connectivity to billing, and the partner focuses on the development of his app.

Another essential aspect of tapio is the possibility that the partners get a space for cooperation and synergies with clearly defined rules. This is where services are created in which real customer problems are solved through cooperation and data exchange between partners. In the midterm, we see the highest potential for success in this interaction between several partners and customers.

We look forward to your request as a tapio partner.