When I got the current edition of the Handelsblatt opened, I saw the headline: “Deutsche Bank: Digital factory with 400 experts starts 2016 in Frankfurt”. At that moment, my first thoughts that crossed my mind were: What actually is a digital factory? The article itself provided the first approaches: the bank’s own research and development as well as investments of 750 million euros for digitization in private and corporate customer business by 2020.

Digital factory = digital factory?

At first I investigated whether there was a connection between these terms and actually couldn’t come up with a common denominator. A digital factory is: Generic term for a comprehensive network of digital models and methods, including simulation and 3D visualization. Its purpose is the holistic planning, implementation, control and continuous improvement of all essential factory processes and resources in connection with the product (Wikipedia).
In the interests of the Deutsche Bank, this does not seem to be exactly the case. Thus, at first glance, there is no connection between the digital factory and the digital factory.

Development center for innovation

Then I have the Private Banking Magazine can find more information. So says the magazine: Deutsche Bank has started its own development center for digital banking products: In the so-called digital factory in Frankfurt, around 400 employees from 14 nations design and program. So it seems to be a kind of network or center with experts who develop digital business models and products. So it clearly seems to be a competence center.

Digital factory in the startup world

In the further course, I also found the term as an interactive round table or meeting in the startup world. Apparently, such a factory is a kind of meeting format or, in the case of the German bank, a competence center that develops digital technologies and bundles expert knowledge.

Digital Lab = digital factory?

“Porsche is taking the next step towards digital transformation. The Stuttgart sports car manufacturer has now opened the Porsche Digital Lab in Berlin.” (Source Porsche Newsroom ). So there is also a lot of talk about such digital labs and the digital heads for the digital lab are searched for in many job advertisements. So could this lab be the same as the digital factory? An answer can be found at McKinsey which describe it as follows:
“In the Digital Labs, we bundle our digital expertise – and combine the agility of start-ups with the skills and resources of the world’s leading top management consultancy. The McKinsey Digital Lab in Berlin and eight other digital labs worldwide are specialized competence centers that combine strategy consulting with technology expertise. ”
So a digital factory or a digital lab seems to be a competence center with a startup feeling for highly creative topics. New innovations in the context of digital transformation are to be created there.
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I blog about the influence of digitalization on our working world. For this purpose, I provide content from science in a practical way and show helpful tips from my everyday professional life. I am an executive in an SME and I wrote my doctoral thesis at the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg at the Chair of IT Management.

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