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While 40% of companies still invested more than 5% of their annual turnover in Industry 4.0 projects in 2018, the corresponding share shrank to only 17% in 2019. These are the findings of a recent survey of 208 companies jointly conducted by Expense Reduction Analysts, the German Federal Association for Materials Management, Purchasing and Logistics, and the EBS University of Economics and Law. According to the survey, companies invest an average of only 1.7% of their annual turnover in digital projects. The analysis showed that German companies risk losing important competitive advantages.

As reasons for this development, the study cites the lack of a digital strategy, the uncertain economic climate and the shortage of skilled workers, which robs many small and medium-sized enterprises of their capacity to implement digital projects. Of the companies surveyed, including SMEs in particular, 85% also expect the shortage of skilled workers to have a negative impact on their company. According to the survey, 64% are already considering conducting at least part of their business abroad in the future.