top of page

 Industry 4.0 – Opportunities and Challenges of the Digital Transformation 

The integration of production and automation technologies with modern information and communication technologies, also known as Industry 4.0, a term originally coined in Germany, is also an important topic in the US. However, the development of fully-automated and connected factories is more commonly known as “smart factories” and promoted with terms such as “Industrial Internet of Things” (IIoT), “smart manufacturing”, or “advanced manufacturing” throughout the US.  

Efficiency gains from IIoT are of vital importance for the US to remain competitive in the global manufacturing market as well as stay a location for production. Solutions from German Industry 4.0 providers can help businesses digitally connect facilities, parts and processes to enable individualized production and flexible manufacturing.

The North American market for IIoT solutions is expected to grow to a value of 599 billion USD by 2021. The Monitoring-Report Wirtschaft DIGITAL 2016 from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy stated that the US provides the best framework conditions for the digital economy related to technical infrastructure and utilization intensity of digital technologies. As a result, the US provides a lot of market opportunities for IIoT solutions.

During the workshop, company representatives will exchange experiences on the introduction of Industry 4.0 solutions in Germany and the US, as well as discuss the current implementation status of digitalization initiatives. Furthermore, the workshop will focus on current trends in the Industry 4.0 landscape of the US. Innovative projects and concrete examples will highlight the market potential and opportunities for German Industry 4.0 solution providers in the USA, while simultaneously addressing potential challenges with US market entry.


Our Speakers

Jackson Bond
Co-Founder, Chief Industry Evangelist, New Business, relayr GmbH


Jackson Bond is Co-Founder and Chief Industrial Evangelist of relayr since 2018. He was previously Chief Product Officer, building out the Product and Marketing teams at relayr since 2013. He has spent the last 5 years in close dialog with thousands of industrial engineers and executives in heavy industry to understand their pain points and needs in order achieve a predictive state to enable digital transformation.
He previously co-founded MONOQI, a leading eCommerce platform for design products, and 8hertz Technologies, a speech-recognition application company. He has also worked in Corporate Development building new products and services for the German business network XING AG and for the Holtzbrink Group company, Parship.

Michael Butschek
Senior Vice President „Digital Enterprise“, Siemens AG, Digital Factory


Michael Butschek is responsible for Digital Enterprise within Siemens AG’s Digital Factory Division.  Digital Enterprise is the interconnection of the virtual with the real world. Siemens’ world leading automation and industry software portfolio build the basis for this. His responsibilities range from defining the industrial digitalization strategy to worldwide sales governance, portfolio management, consulting to architecting demo centers and partner agreements.

Prior to his current role Michael has held several other significant leadership roles in Siemens most notably for strategy and regions of Siemens’ global Industry Services business and was CEO for the Americas & the industry business of Siemens Management Consulting.

Peter Riehle
President & CEO, WITTENSTEIN holding, Corp. and Chairman of the Board of Directors, German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, Inc. 


Since May 2013, Peter Riehle holds the position of President and CEO of WITTENSTEIN in Bartlett, IL, subsidiary of WITTENSTEIN SE of Igersheim, Germany. Prior responsibilities include VP of Sales and Marketing with TRUMPF Inc. in Farmington, CT, CEO of DMG America (DMG-Mori) in Chicago, IL as well as Director Industrial Sales with Schaeffler in Fort Mill, SC.  He held positions in executive management with responsibilities in Sales and Marketing, Research and Development, Software Technology, Procurement and Logistics, Acquisitions, Business Intelligence.
He is an international executive with a vast knowledge of Sales & Marketing of highly sophisticated technology for machine tools. He holds the position of Chairman of the GACC Midwest and was instrumental in launching the ICATT Program (modeled after the German apprenticeship program).

Rainer Strohm 

VP Corporate Sector Information Systems and Services, Robert Bosch GmbH


Rainer Strohm is responsible for the digital transformation of the divisions Bosch Rexroth, Bosch Packaging and Bosch Connected Industry in the corporate sector information and services at Robert Bosch GmbH.
In close coordination with the Business CDO Industry, the range of tasks extends from defining the digital strategy to the implementation of projects and solution operations.
From 2003 to mid-2017 he was, amongst other positions, Head of Cloud Computing at IBM and was responsible for customers in the automotive and industrial sectors.


Mark Tomkins
President & CEO, German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, Inc. 

Mark Tomkins joined the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest in March 2006. Prior to this, Mr. Tomkins spent over 10 years in business development consulting, working with businesses throughout the world in developing strategic alliances and long-term co-operations. Mr. Tomkins began his professional career in the automotive and IT industry in Germany and the U.S. 
He serves on the board of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, the Honorary Board of the German International School Chicago, and the Board of Advisors for AIESEC at Northwestern University.  Mr. Tomkins also serves on the National Academies of Sciences Committee on the Supply Chain for Middle-Skill Jobs. Mr. Tomkins graduated from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL with a B.A. in Applied Mathematics (Honors Program), Economics and German.


bottom of page