For 57 percent of German industrial companies, there is no question that Smart Factory and networked products will considerably change their business models over the next five years. Most of them take a positive view of this development. 72 percent of interviewed companies expect to increase their economic success with the transformation to an intelligent factory. Companies that already have operational experience with Industry 4.0 take an even more optimistic view. This is confirmed by the second "German Industry 4.0 Index". For this study, 179 industrial companies in Germany were surveyed by Staufen Management Consultancy.
There is disagreement amongst those surveyed as to whether the change could be managed with their existing product range. "Approximately half of the companies assume to get by without major adaptations," explains Martin Haas, Staufen AG Executive Board member. "However, a majority of 60% amongst the Industry 4.0 pioneers expects the new industrial revolution also to be associated with considerable changes to the product portfolio."
Participants in the survey see their activities in the areas of research and development as the major drivers of industrial change. Three in four companies expect noticeable changes in this area over the next five years. "The German economy has thus realised that a crucial factor in its success is the continuing advancement of technical innovations," Haas emphasises. "The consistent implementation of the Industry 4.0 concept will be the foundation of economic success in the future. From research and development to the daily operational management of a complex production structure based on the division of labour and spread across various geographical locations."
Views differ as to the effect of this fundamental change in industry on the workforce. However, about half of the companies are optimistic that the development towards Industry 4.0 will not have a noticeable effect on the composition of their workforce.
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