Industry 4.0 and its impact on the plastic surgery industry

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The utilization of the technological advancements of Industry 4.0 and digitization has provided an important platform that helps businesses to gain competitiveness in the market. Recon Pty Ltd is one of the players in the plastic surgery industry in Australia. The industry is faced with different political, economic, social-cultural, legal and technological factors. In the sector, order winners and qualifiers demands for high quality, low-cost services that satisfy the customers. Currently, Recon faces the challenges of competitiveness and other operational problems, that acts as limitations towards attaining the desired goals. Recon’s adoption of social media and online marketing comes out as one of the robust approaches that will empower it to overcome its current challenges. The strategy will help the organization will have its content at the reach of many people from a different location, hence, easy to convince them to use the service. Through the initiative, Recon will improve its brand image and gain a competitive advantage over other players in the industry.

Operations Strategy, Industry 4.0 and Digitalization



Technological advancements provide businesses with hosts of opportunities that can be used cost-cutting operations, increasing business efficiency, and improving the competitiveness and performance of the organization. Key among such technological changes include industry 4.0 and digitalisation that can be used for ensuring sustainability as part of the operations strategy. Digitisation refers to the process of transforming organisational operations by adopting digital technologies. On the other hand, industry 4.0 entails the act of automating and exchange of technologies that are experienced particularly in the manufacturing sector. The combination of digital technologies and operation management strategies enables the improvement of the organisational performance more effectively and efficiently than was initially possible. The need for operations strategy is highlighted in the rise of the customers’ expectations regarding the products and services that are offered on digital platforms. Furthermore, factors that are associated with digital technologies such as accuracy, productivity, speed, and convenience are making digitalization and automation even more desirable across various industries in which they are applied.

Purpose and Scope

The purpose of this report is to present an analysis of how the concepts of digitalisation and automation can be used to enhance the sustainability of operations of Recon Pty Ltd with the aim of understanding the market strategy adopted by the firm. The scope of this report entails an investigation of the Recon Pty Ltd current clientele’s perception on the use of social media and online marketing in order to assess the expectations before the implementation. Consequently, the report presents the key dynamics related to online and social media marketing as elements of digitalisation and industry 4.0 that are significant in the operational improvement that is required for sustainability. Automation is used in the report to refer to the concept of industry 4.0. The assessment is also undertaken to establish how Recon can use the digital technologies and strategies to improve its operations in the Australian plastic surgery industry

The Rationale of the Report

The plastic surgery industry in Australia is characterised by changing environmental factors that affect the performance and organisational competitiveness in the market. The rationale for this report is therefore based on the need by Recon Pty Ltd to understand the dynamics in the industry and implement the most appropriate digital technologies with the aim of ensuring sustainability and competitiveness of the firm. Understanding the market dynamics as well as the customer perceptions that are associated with the digitalisation and automation marketing is further necessary for adopting the operations strategy and operation improvement theories to implement strategies for the sustainability of the organization.

Key Forces Affecting the Industry

The Australia plastic surgery sector is impacted by various factors political, economic, social-cultural, legal, environmental and technological factors. The political forces in Australia have increased the restrictions to the procedures in medics that has, in turn, led to an increment to the service cost to the patients. The Australian economic forces affecting the sector include the low-interest rates that have led to positive impacts on the organization. The social-cultural factors have caused created positive forces because there is a growth in the level of acceptance of the plastic surgery services among the Australians (Sharp, Tiggemann and Mattiske, 2014). Technologically, the Australian plastic industry is experiencing forces from technological advancements such as the use of social media and online marketing among others that helps the sector to deliver high-quality services to customers. Some of the legal factors include the increasing media attention on the risks of the Breast Implants for the affected females in Australia. Lastly, regarding the environmental factors, Australia has a variety of specialists that can deliver plastic surgery services, hence, impacting the sector positively.

Impact of Industry 4.0 and Digitalisation on the Industry

The digital advances are making operation management more effective across various industries in which they are adopted. For instance, the management of operations is made more effective when leaders and managers use updated dashboards to manage the workloads of the subordinates. Similarly, the use of automated data analysis allows the leaders to spend more time with their teams. Some of the major drivers for the adoption of digitalisation by organizations include the need to attain digital capabilities that include customer engagement, service optimisation, digital ecosystem, employee enablement, and analytics-driven insights. Bock, Iansiti, and Lakhani (2017) outline that integrated digital technologies affect businesses by changingthe business models, customer experiences, and operational models. The digital transforming entails the act of adopting technologies to enable new processes and products as well as for facilitating the use of new modes of in interaction. The utilisation of social media as a new mode of interaction has been discussed in this report an example of the impact of digitalisation in the plastic surgery industry.

Since the plastic surgery industry is largely service in nature, the impact of industry 4.0 and digitalisation is evaluated by consideration of how organisations and surgeons are using the modern digital technologies mainly social media platforms for marketing purposes. While people normally consider social media to encompass mainly of the major platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, the phenomena can be associated with various online forms (see appendix 2.0). According to Marino, Gini, Vieno and Spada (2018), over 60% of the Australians are active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, hence, suitable platform for marketing (see appendix 3.0). The content that is generated by the user is the main element of social media. An example of the form is the Web 2.0 internet-based applications consist of user-generated contents. Individuals and groups then create profiles that are maintained by social media services. The social media services further play a critical role in the facilitation of the development of social networks by linking profiles together.

According to Gould and Nazarian (2017), plastic surgeons are quickly integrating social media into their practices as a powerful promotional tool. Social media platforms provide a vital tool for monitoring patient-to-patient communication. While the traditional word of mouth (WOM) is commonly used by the most persuasive form of communication social media platforms provide a vital framework that aid the interactions between the patients. The patient-to-patient interactions are essential since referrals are crucial aspects of plastic surgeries. Whereas WOM is associated with the valuable influence and persuasion, social media platforms lead to increased transparency with the surgeons capable of posting before and after photos of their operations and hence leading to the attraction of more customers. Through social media platforms, customers can learn the experiences of other clients while allowing the surgeons to monitor the feedback from the clientele.

Social media and other forms of digitalisation have created significant potential for improved customer insight and better market intelligence (Gould and Nazarian, 2017). Digitalisation provides companies and surgeons with the platforms for active communication that was beyond their control due to the visibility, permanence, and reach of the online networks. Before the digital age, the customers had limited reach and hence minimal impact. However, the advancement of digital technologies has contributed to the amplification of a person’s sphere of influence. Gould et al. (2016) assert that the concentration of consumers on social platforms has a direct impact on the marketing of medical products. Since the use of social media tools can help increase traffic into certain websites, surgeons and firms can utilise such opportunities to bolster marketing while increasing the knowledge of the patients through direct outreach to the clients.

Organisational Challenges

The challenges facing Recon Pty Ltd arise from both the external and internal environment. Apart from the operational challenges of ensuring effectiveness and efficiency of the process and services offered to the clients, Recon is faced with the growing threat of competitors in both the local and international markets. The competitive environment is characterised by many young surgeons who present more savvy and trendy operations that are favoured by the younger demographics. The competitors are adopting aggressive marketing strategies and hence the need by the organisation to adopt sustainable approaches towards sustainability of its operations. Furthermore, the organisation must contend with the negative public image as the media often focus on the negative aspects of plastic surgery. The negative depiction by the media can contribute significantly to the driving away the new customers. The further challenge is related to the essence that the political legislative actions lead to the rise in costs of doing business due to the increased hospital stay by the patients.

Order Winners and Qualifiers-Implications for New Value Propositions

The order winners and qualifiers define the organizational processes and how its internal capabilities help it to attain competitiveness in the market. An order qualifier defines the character of the product or service before being considered by the customer. On the other hand, the order inner defines the characteristics that make the service to get the customer purchase. Both characteristics are essential in the attaining the competitiveness in the market. The delivery of the plastic surgery services has a simple order qualifier of ensuring that the surgery is done according to the customer expectations. Failure to deliver the services according to the client requirements disqualifies it from being considered by the customers in the market (Qi, Huo, Wang and Yeung, 2017).

However, in the sector, some of the key aspects that create value to the customers for improving the order qualification included in the cost-cutting approaches. The ability to reduce different cost with the organizational operation has a direct impact on the service value delivered to the client. When the business has the capability of providing high-quality services at a cheaper cost attracts more customers. In the sector, globalization is also an important factor that has a positive impact on the value proposition. The approach helps the company to connect to suitable suppliers and surgeons that in turn improves the service value in the business. Globalization also adds value through the provision of the communication system that allows the feedback to be collected and implemented for service quality improvement. Therefore, cost reduction and service quality improvement increase the order qualifications in the plastic surgery sector.

Current Strengths and Limitations in Meeting the Strategic and Operational Strategies

The current strengths and limitations in meeting the strategic and operational strategies are derived from the Company’s SWOT analysis. Since Recon mainly deals with plastic and reconstruction surgery, the strengths and limitations that may influence the strategies mainly relate to the organisational processes of delivering customer expectations by conducting surgeries. The first strength is observed in the fact that Recon Pty Ltd is a widely recognised company with a strong brand and an excellent reputation for delivering outstanding outcomes and results in customer service. On the same note, the firm has outstanding customer care and service delivery and ensures that each time the clients are offered comforting, discreet, amazing, safe, and non-judging experiences. Secondly, the company employs highly experienced surgeons to ensure that no customer request is considered too challenging to be handled and solutions provided. The third strength entails the fact that surgeons remain with the patients throughout the surgical journey and hence the establishment of a patient-centred practice. On the other hand, the limitations of Recon include a smaller market share with a narrow target segment. The Organisation primarily targets high-end individuals as its market. The narrow market segment is a limitation because the firm may not be capable of attaining its strategic goals. Moreover, Recon faces a negative image depiction from the media and hence may be limited in accomplishing the operational strategies.

Resources and Capabilities Needed to Support the Digital Transformation

According to Bock, Iansiti, and Lakhani (2017) enterprises cannot attain the desired digital transformation without utilising appropriate resources and capabilities. Furthermore, the existing capabilities should be leveraged on rather than be perceived as burdens that hinder the digitalisation process. The firm requires financial resources to acquire, install, maintain, and operate the necessary information systems. Well trained personnel also form a critical component of the resources that are required to implement and support the digital transformation as part of the operational strategy. Additionally, the digital strategy entails the use of digital resources such as mobile, internet of things (IoT), cloud, and analytics. To maximise utility, the organisation needs to incorporate new applications into the existing operational systems through the extension of data models. Such integration allows for greater harmonisation and refactoring of existing work to support the new digital models (Bock, Iansiti, and Lakhani, 2017).

The mastery of capabilities such as customer engagement and analytics-driven insights is essential for developing a step-by-step approach that can be used to enhance the digital transformation process. Another capability required by the firm is the ability to align the business goals with the IT’s efforts in supplying and supporting the major technologies involved.

Building and Sustaining a Continuous Learning Culture for Operational Improvement

A sustainable continuous learning culture is a vital element for modern businesses that operate in environments that are characterised with rapid changes and high customer expectations. Failure to adapt to market changes is one of the main reasons why businesses that were once leaders in their fields collapse and are usurped by competition. A learning culture is vital for enabling the organisation to transform its operations for improvement by implementing new technologies and ideas for optimum outcomes. Additionally, continuous improvement can only be obtained through the establishment of an ongoing learning culture in the organisation by adopting the appropriate new practices. A continuous improvement business strategy refers to the ongoing process of improving products and processes of an organisation. The operational improvement, therefore, entails the activities for constant evaluation and change to enable the development and application of the new improvements.

Continuous learning is also essential for the strategic improvement of operations as the business learns to adopt new aspects such as process re-engineering, problem-solving, and the introduction of new product and services. Without learning, organisations may be bound to repeat the same old practices with the implemented changes becoming short-lived and fruitless. Consequently, there is a need to build a sustainable continuous learning culture as part of the strategic operations. Some of the strategies that can be used to build and sustain a continuous learning culture include promotion from within, valuing feedback, formalising, training and development, giving recognition to learning, and developing knowledge and information sharing into a formal process. Recon should ensure a sustainable learning culture through formal training and development programmes in which the employees are equipped with the vital skills on the surgical procedures. Apart from the research and development efforts on the practice, the staff should be trained on the necessary innovative processes that can be used for obtaining a competitive edge in the market. The organisation should recognise learning efforts by rewarding the implementation of new ideas and innovative solutions to problems. Additionally, digital platforms can be adapted to enable information and knowledge sharing to ensure a continuous generation of ideas.

Benefits to be Realised from the Adoption of the Digital Initiatives

A successful digital transformation is not only a result of implementing technologies but also vital in changing the business processes to improve operational performance as well as exploiting the opportunities brought about by the innovation. Digital transformation as an operational strategy has several benefits. The first benefit of adopting digital initiatives is the transformation of the customer experience. As in the case of the adoption of social media, customer experience in the plastic surgery industry is improved when the digital technologies such as analytics enable the creation of new models with the interaction with the customer. Consequently, the clients have the opportunity to communicate with the customers regarding the services that are offered. On the same note, the customers are provided with the ability to express their concerns and feedback regardless of their location around the world. The use of historical and analytics-based real-time data is essential in tracking the changes in customer demands while highlighting some of the trends that are popular with a certain market segment. Recon can benefit from such technological advancement by monitoring the most popular plastic surgery procedures as well as tailoring the processes to meet the specific needs of a particular client.

The second benefit is the digital initiatives is the transformation of the operational processes. Operations are transformed by the need by the organization to simplify their processes, minimise work in progress, and identify bottlenecks in such processes. Recon can benefit from the principles of industry 4.0 by automating certain elements of their processes leading to benefits such as accuracy and reduction of the repetitive duties and actions. The use of digital technologies like the internet of things (IoT) can be used to monitor plastic surgery and augmenting procedures and hence alerting the team of surgeons of the possible risks in real time. Consequently, side effects associated with the procedures can be reduced significantly. The operations in the organisation when the digital initiatives are used to allow the customer to schedule for services at their own appropriate. The use of scheduling software promotes process efficiency by improving workflow through the elimination of problems such as longer waiting times.

Thirdly, the developed digital initiatives are useful for the transformation of the business model. The business models can be transformed through two main ways. First, digitalisation allows enterprises to globalise. Digital transformation allows domestic firms to remain competitive in the shrinking global market. Digitalisation enables companies to adopt a network-centric way that allows connection with partners and customers and hence establishing new business relationships. The network effect leads to benefits for the partners and customers as the firm adopt a combination of data management solutions through various database platforms. Recon can benefit from the globalisation of operations by using digital advances to reach international partners and customers. Partners may include groups of surgeons who can offer Recon services in form of franchises or other forms of international business. Similarly, Recon can reach to customers in any part of the world. Through the network system, the business is able of leveraging and gaining insights from their partners and customers using stored and real-time data gathered using platforms and tools such as analytics.

How the New System Will Impact or Change the Service Delivery

The adoption of the industry 4.0 and digital systems will impact the way Recon delivers its plastic surgery services to the customers in various ways (Qin, Liu and Grosvenor, 2016). The strategy will help improve the improve efficiency and the quality of service. Usually, technological possesses the power to transform the business towards overcoming the traditional operational challenges for effectiveness. Efficiency has a direct impact on the performance of the business because most of the tasks are performed through automation (Tuten and Solomon, 2017). Considering the use of social media and online marketing as a new marketing system initiative within the operations of Recon, the strategy is likely to yield positive impacts on its operations. Recon will manage to reach customers located at different places within a short time.

The power of the new system will significantly contribute towards ensuring that business overcomes the communication challenges with its stakeholders for the betterment. The business will closely with the customers; an aspect that will, in turn, increase their knowledge of the service and the general satisfaction level. Besides, the strategy will impact on the organization’s service delivery through the reach the new market areas on the social media and other online platforms. Generally, the new system will provide a suitable platform for Recon to promote the content of the organizational services, improve interaction with the customers and promote thoughtful leadership in business (Qin, Liu and Grosvenor, 2016).

Key Recommendations

As a recommendation, the business should put its resources into the adoption of industry 4.0 and digital technology approaches into its business due to its associated benefits. The decision to invest in technology entails incurring of different financial factors to support the entire process of incorporating technology into the business. Recon should also make efforts towards curbing the possible factors within the business that act as drawbacks towards the adoption of the technology. Other efforts include the creation linkages between the traditional activities and the use of technology to achieve seamless integration with other channels (see appendix 1.0). The aspect will help to ensure that there are minimal disturbances and interruptions during the process of adopting the technology. Besides, as a preparation towards the adoption of the new models, Recon should train its personnel to support the technology. The practice will help to equip its staff to support the technology, and also overcome the possible challenges of resistance from the employees due to the lack of knowledge of the new system.

The use of social media and online marketing seems to be a perfect technology to support the operational activities of Recon. In its implementation, is recommended that the business makes a partnership of the social media influencers for better results. Usually, social media influencers are key personalities which are known to huge masses of people within the social platform (Khamis, Ang and Welling, 2017). They have a huge following of people on the social media, hence, they possess the capabilities of moving masses to use a given service. When the socialite's post information about Recon's service on social media, there are high possibilities that most people will perceive them positively. Therefore, the strategy will boost the image of the company, by changing the customer perception of the services.

However, in as much as the incorporation of the social media in operations of the business seems like a robust approach to marketing, the approach should not replace other media strategy. As a recommendation, social media should only provide an additional platform to support the marketing operations of the company. Therefore, the mainstream media should be retained and only have social media as a complementary service (Khamis, Ang and Welling, 2017). The combination of both the social and the mainstream media is important because it enhances the effectiveness of the marketing activities reaching all the segments of the market.

The Proposed Digital Solution or Initiative

The proposed digital solution for Recon is the utilization of social media and online marketing activities within its business. According to the solution, the social handles s services of the such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram shall be utilized to ensure that the messages on the surgery services of the business reach the target market. The process will start with the content planning, where the desired media content will be produced in line with the marketing goals. In all cases, there should be consistent in the information placed across all the social media platforms to ensure that the brand image comes out clearly to the target audience (Hill and Hill, 2017). The goals will be set based on the target audience and the specific messages that need to be conveyed using the digital solution. Lack of market information reduces the effectiveness of the marketing activities on the social media, therefore, prior practices must entail the determination of the customer’s characteristics such as their demographics, geographical locations, and other related aspects.

The digital solution shall have metrics to evaluate its effectiveness. Usually, some of the key measures on the social media include the reach, that measures the number of people that have seen the posts, and the clicks, which gives the statistics of those who clicked to the given links. Besides, Recon will measure social media performance through the engagement and the hashtag performance among many others. The proposed initiative of the utilization of the social media platforms is likely to help the business improve in its brand awareness in the market that is authentic and long-lasting. Besides, the initiative will increase the quality of the services, because the customers will provide their feedback about their experience. The ability to improve the quality has a direct impact on the increment on the number of sales (Luttrell, 2018). Therefore, these advantages will collectively help the company to improve in its competitive advantage over players in the sector.


In conclusion, technological advancements have become key business success drivers in every sector. Companies are using industry 4.0 and the digitization approaches to transform their operations towards improving performance and efficiency that in turn gives them a competitive edge over other players in the sector. An investigation into Recon's perception of the use of social media and online marketing clearly shows that the business will yield the best out of its adoption. The approach will help it overcome the key forces in the sector and gain a competitive edge over other players in the sector. During the implementation, it recommended that the business dedicates key resources for the change and makes sufficient preparations to increase the chances of success.


Bock, R., Iansiti, M. and Lakhani, K.R., 2017. What the companies on the right side of the digital business divide have in common. Harvard Business Review”, January 31st.

Gould, D.J. and Nazarian, S., 2017. Social Media Return on Investment: How Much is it Worth to My Practice? Aesthetic surgery journal, 38(5), pp.565-574.

Gould, R., Chan, K.M., Balvanera, P., Benessaiah, K., Chapman, M., Díaz, S., Gómez-Baggethun, E., Hannahs, N., Jax, K., Klein, S. and Luck, G.W., 2016. Opinion: Why protect nature? Rethinking values and the environment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(6), pp.1462-1465.

Hill, T., and Hill, A. 2017. Operations Strategy Design, Implementation and Delivery. MacMillan Education UK, London

Khamis, S., Ang, L. and Welling, R., 2017. Self-branding,‘micro-celebrity’and the rise of Social Media Influencers. Celebrity Studies, 8(2), pp.191-208.

Luttrell, R., 2018. Social media: How to engage, share and connect. Rowman & Littlefield.

Marino, C., Gini, G., Vieno, A. and Spada, M.M., 2018. The associations between problematic Facebook use, psychological distress and well-being among adolescents and young adults: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 226, pp.274-281.

Qi, Y., Huo, B., Wang, Z. and Yeung, H.Y.J., 2017. The impact of operations and supply chain strategies on integration and performance. International Journal of Production Economics, 185, pp.162-174.

Qin, J., Liu, Y. and Grosvenor, R., 2016. A categorical framework of manufacturing for industry 4.0 and beyond. Procedia Corp, 52, pp.173-178.

Sharp, G., Tiggemann, M. and Mattiske, J., 2014. The role of media and peer influences in Australian women's attitudes towards cosmetic surgery. Body Image, 11(4), pp.482-487.

Tuten, T.L. and Solomon, M.R., 2017. Social media marketing. Sage.


Appendix 1.0 Illustration of Digital marketing channels

Figure 1.0 Digital marketing channels (Qi et al., 2017)

Appendix 2.0: Social Media platforms

Figure 2.0 The common Social Media handles (Luttrell, 2018)

Appendix 3.0 Usage Statistics

Figure 3.0 Facebook Usage in Australia (Marino et al., 2018)

January 19, 2024

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