One in four machines in German factories is now smart and networked. This was the result of a survey of 553 industrial companies with more than 100 employees on behalf of the BITKOM digital association.
According to a study by the digital association BITKOM, 24 percent of machines and plants in German companies are already connected to the internet. According to another/the same study, every second company from the production industry (49 percent) is already using Industry 4.0 applications, with a further 22 percent having plans to use it. This means that more than seven out of ten German industrial companies (71 percent) are already active in the Industry 4.0 sector. 18 percent of those surveyed still have no concrete plans for the use of Industry 4.0 but can imagine using corresponding applications in the future. Only nine percent say that industry 4.0 is or will not be an issue for them.
In implementing Industry 4.0, the majority of companies (97 percent) proceed strategically, although the approaches vary in scope – only 55 percent have a strategy for the entire company, 42 percent only for individual areas. Most of the companies tend to be cautious when investing in Industry 4.0. Almost everyone who uses Industry 4.0, or plans to do so, has planned money for it this year. “Industry 4.0 solutions initially cost money, but in the long term they they strongly improve efficiency and reduce costs along the entire value chain,” says BITKOM President Achim Berg. “Only those who invest significantly in Industry 4.0 can meet the increasing customer requirements and remain internationally competitive.
The biggest hurdle in using Industry 4.0 is the use of resources. 72 percent of all industrial companies say that high investment costs hinder the use of Industry 4.0 in their companies. Data protection requirements (58 percent) and data security requirements (56 percent) are also among the main obstacles. The shortage of skilled workers is cited by 49 percent as a problem. However, companies not only have difficulties in finding employees, they also lose them. Large companies are particularly affected – every fifth industrial group with 500 and more employees was enticed away the employees with the corresponding knowledge or the company had to have corresponding specialists drawn in at their request.