German machine manufacturers are – still – optimistic
Human or machine? When German machine manufacturers are planning investments, the an-swer is: both. Further employee training as well as automation and networking are currently high on their agenda.04 Jun. 2018 David Schahinian
This is shown by the current mechanical engineering barometer of the consulting firm PwC , for which around 100 industry executives were interviewed. Their outlook is positive: 85% predict the German economy will continue to grow over the next twelve months. They expect stable growth of 4.8% for machine and plant manufacturers in the current year. Respondents rated the outlook for their own company (record growth of 8% on average) even more positively than that for the industry as a whole. This may happen, but not necessarily. According to another survey result, six out of ten companies are already working at capacity limits. The average utili-zation rate is 92.4%.
Investments are thus necessary. The focus is on employee qualification (76%), followed by the use of new production techniques, and by research and development (72% each). Many are also planning to digitize their business field. Machine and plant manufacturers' primary concern remains the shortage of skilled workers (83% of respondents). Rising cost pressure (74%) and current political developments abroad (70%) are also a headache for many.
Sascha Hackstein of the consultancy Atreus GmbH also sees a divided industry. At produktion.de , he writes that connecting the German industrial tradition with the digital world will require innovations and an open attitude to new approaches. He fears, nevertheless, that not all board-rooms have arrived at this conclusion yet. Many companies apparently also lack the time to work out "intensive and comprehensive" plans for the future.
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