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HANNOVER MESSE 2019, 01 - 05 April
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Industrie 4.0

Key industries need to respond faster to change

Success leads to the biggest mistakes, they say. Although the economy is booming, Roland Berger warns that key German industries such as the automotive sector and mechanical engineering are facing serious structural change.

17 May. 2018
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Key industries need to respond faster to change (Photo: Roland Berger GmbH)

There are numerous challenges. According to the new Roland Berger study "Sturmtief voraus" ("Storm front on the horizon") , they include digitization, a shortage of skilled workers, a decline in innovation and protectionist tendencies. Although these developments are not news, many companies are not sufficiently prepared for them. According to restructuring experts, this is mostly due to management errors and new competitors, as well as disruptive technologies to which companies are not reacting quickly enough.

By way of example, the study analyzes industrial sectors such as consumer goods and trade, automotive, energy, mechanical engineering, finance and healthcare. The energy industry, for example, is struggling with falling margins and high levels of debt. The industry has already responded, but trends such as sector coupling call for further adjustments. Network operators should tap into new business areas such as decentralized generation technologies or mobility platforms, recommend the consultants. Even mechanical engineering is feeling the pressure – despite the deceptive security of the current favorable situation. The authors see future opportunities in service offerings and new areas of application for existing technologies.

A representative Bitkom survey of 553 industrial companies in the run-up to this year's Hanover Fair showed just how much the transition to digital production processes has picked up the pace. According to the survey, a quarter of the machines and plants in larger German companies are already connected to the Internet. At Roland Berger they are sure that the changes also hold growth opportunities. That, however, only applies to companies that proactively shape developments. Or, as another saying goes: If you don’t move with the times, you’ll be removed over time.

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