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These are the findings of a study by the Center for European Economic Research (ZEW) and the Center for Economic Policy Studies (CWS) at the University of Hannover. It shows that more than 80 % of German chemical companies are already using digital applications in production and sales. But there is still more potential to be tapped: although the ZEW reports that the sector is working “quite efficiently”, it could become even more flexible if it were to use digital supply chain management, modular equipment, or digital plant management systems.

There are two areas where more urgent action is needed, however. Increased use of digital technology, for example, goes hand in hand with higher security requirements to protect data. More must apparently be done here to protect against hackers and industrial espionage. Digitization also changes the demands on employees, says the report, and so education and training must be stepped up. The authors of the study see further challenges in the expansion of broadband networks and the shortage of IT experts.

Similar conclusions were reached by an Accenture study back in February 2018. The 360 managers surveyed from twelve countries were satisfied with the digital projects which had already been implemented, but also reported cyber attacks against their companies.