During the summer of 2021, Flanders Make conducted a new Industry 4.0 survey and compared the results with the insights gained in 2019.
10 key findings explained in a nutshell:
1. SUSTAINABILITY DRIVES THE INDUSTRY
Sustainability is no longer an option – it’s imperative. Companies understand that creating sustainable products, services and production systems will be the new standard to survive in the manufacturing industry. With an average importance level of 70% for different aspects, the participating companies indicate that sustainability is high on their agenda.
2. COMPANIES ARE MORE INDUSTRY 4.0-READY THAN EVER BEFORE
45% of our companies are Industry 4.0-ready (+13% compared to 2019), giving themselves an average rating of 76%. This is very promising, as they are acting in a rapidly evolving context. Surprisingly, the company size has almost no impact on the Industry 4.0-readiness.
3. THE KEY DRIVERS FOR DIGITALISATION ARE COST-BASED
Especially among larger companies, the main drivers for digitalisation are now cost-based (62%), while in 2019 there was a clear balance between cost-based and revenue-based drivers. The experience gained gives them important insights into the return of their digitalisation actions.
4. COMPANIES ARE RE-FOCUSSING ON INNOVATION AND DIGITALISATION
After the difficult year 2020, the majority of the companies are starting to re-focus on innovation (66%) and nearly all companies (96%) place digital transformation high on their agenda. Both innovation and digital transformation are indispensable to remain competitive in a very challenging global market.
5. THE NUMBER OF COLLABORATIVE ECOSYSTEMS IS GROWING
Up to now, only 1 in 4 companies recognises the benefits of working together in ecosystems, which is a key driver for sustainable growth. Increasing awareness and active involvement can make a major difference for the competitiveness of our industry!
6. AI AND BIG DATA ARE THE TECHNOLOGIES THAT COMPANIES HAVE MOST CONFIDENCE IN
Compared to 2019, AI and big data are still the technologies that companies have most confidence in. Now, robotisation has also made it into the top 3.
7. USING DIGITAL TWINS FOR PRODUCT DESIGN IS GAINING IMPORTANCE
34% of the companies are using the technology of digital twins, and nearly half of them are using it for product design validation. More than 1 in 4 of them relies on digital twins for maintenance support and scenario analyses. It’s high time for our companies to further embrace this disruptive technology.
8. FOR MOST COMPANIES, A DIGITAL SHOP FLOOR REPRESENTS THE BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY
45% of the companies believe that having a digital shop floor is the biggest digitalisation opportunity. However, more than 60% says that finding the necessary digital talent remains their main challenge for the successful digitalisation of their business processes. Investing in workforce development will be key for our industry to gain a competitive edge, applying true human centricity in manufacturing.
9. BIG DATA ARE A KEY ASSET, BUT A LOT OF COMPANIES STILL STRUGGLE WITH IT
8 out of 10 companies are collecting data, but almost 60% of them still struggle with effectively using and benefiting from those data. Furthermore, only 28% of the companies have an OT department, which should actually take on a leading role in a successful Industry 4.0 implementation, starting with the installation of a solid IOT infrastructure.
10. INVENTORY MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES ARE SHIFTING TOWARDS ENSURING AVAILABILITY
Due to the corona crisis, the view on stock management is shifting towards a focus on availability, meaning that 22% of the companies are holding more stock to be less dependent on delays in the supply chain. Nearly half of the companies are considering to readjust their supply chain strategy.