More than 300 decision makers from the industry in Germany, the USA and Japan have been questioned in 2015 by McKinsey & Company. In 2015, when the study was conducted, only six out of ten companies felt well prepared for the Industry 4.0.
At the same time, 91 percent see the digitalisation of production as a chance. On average, the German industry expects an increase in productivity of more than 20 percent.
According to McKinsey, “the digitalisation presses into industrial production processes rapidly. Industrial companies should decide already today which strategically important control points in the value creation chain they have to be able to handle in order to stand up to potential new competitors”. Experts expect that up to 50 percent of today's production plants have to be replaced in the next ten years. Many companies begin only now to concretely busy themselves with industry 4.0: Advantages of new technologies such as 3D-printing, Big Data and the Internet of Things are, according to McKinsey; too often considered a risk rather than a chance to enhance the competitiveness. At the moment, German enterprises only invest 14 percent of their annual research budget in topic related to industry 4.0. As barriers on the way to industry 4.0, the companies questioned point out the employee's knowledge, data security and standardized data standards. 57 percent of all companies would outsource their systems but only within Germany (81 percent) or Europe (33 percent). The study “Industry 4.0 – How to navigate digitization of the manufacturing sector” identifies five fields of action on the way to digital production:
1. using data more effectively
Only about one percent of the data accruing in the production are used so far – an enormous potential for the future. Companies should digitally visualize the complete value creation chain and the life circle of a product completely. Software-assisted, precise maintenance forecasts can help to use machines more effectively – and so to enhance productivity by up to 30 percent. All in all, industry 4.0 offers the chance to put all cost positions in the process of being tested.
2. developing skills
The digitalisation requires completely new skills in employees. For example, skills concerning the analysis of huge amounts of data are rare. To find employees with these skills and to nurture them is an important factor of success.
3. ensuring access to clients
Companies have to decide which strategic go-betweens they have to control in order to stay in contact with the client and to catch on with new competitors.
4. becoming quicker
Industrial companies should open up further possibilities to visualize agility like in start-ups in the sense of a “two-speed IT” besides their current IT structure.
5. improve data security
Protection against cyberattacks is a future task that cannot be solved by the IT department alone but belongs on the board's agend.
Source: Study “Industry 4.0 – How to navigate digitization of the manufacturing sector” McKinsey & Company, 2015.