The guideline defines the term digital factory and explains its focus. It provides an overview of the aims, applications, and benefits of this concept. The observed processes with the corresponding models, methods and tools are explained in detail. Instructions are given for data management and system architecture. Special attention is given to the introduction and the accompanying organisational measures. This basic guideline serves only as an introduction to the broad-ranging subject of the digital factory; it will be supplemented by further guideline parts, e. g. on the subject of 'digital factory operation'.