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More than half of companies do not engage with the potentials and opportunities presented by Industry 4.0 or do not regard them as expedient. For two-thirds of the companies surveyed, uncertainty about return on investment (ROI) is the decisive argument for their lack of commitment to digitalisation. This is especially true for digitisation on the shop floor. One of the biggest hurdles in achieving holistic shop floor networking is the unclear profitability of the Industry 4.0 technologies in question. The greatest impact in this field is attributed to two technologies in particular: autonomous transport (43%) and artificial intelligence (39%).

The digitalisation gap: China and the DACH region need to catch up with the USA

It is well known that Germany, Austria and Switzerland are doing poorly when it comes to digitizing production. In this year's Industry 4.0 Barometer, they are also clearly behind China, the UK and the USA - and the gap is growing. Dynamic companies, especially from the Asian region, are investing huge sums and have already left many of their Western competitors behind. And when it comes to shop floor automation, it becomes clear just how large this gap currently is: for example, only around 44 percent of all production processes are automated at companies from the DACH region, the UK and the USA. In China, the figure is 69 percent.

When it comes to the use of autonomous machines and robots, for example driverless transport systems, only one third of companies worldwide have these technologies in use at all. Nevertheless, 36 percent of those surveyed are planning to use them and 28 percent are already testing the technology. A quarter of the companies surveyed (internationally) even assume that they are better off than their competitors in terms of partially and fully automated production processes. However, if only half of the production processes are automated, those responsible not only have a deluded self-image, but also a corresponding need to catch up..

DACH: Half of all companies cannot find qualified personnel

Major obstacles to the implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies are the lack of qualified employees and the lack of further training measures. Accordingly, many companies are finding it difficult to implement digitization projects. This is particularly evident in the DACH region: more than half of the companies have problems recruiting qualified employees. Existing staff can hardly be used because they are too involved in day-to-day business. Further training is also proving difficult. More than half of the companies surveyed are dissatisfied with the training opportunities on offer.

Expertise: Supply Chain Resilience and Cyber Security

A positive note, however, is that many companies have learned from past crises - especially with regard to supply bottlenecks. Successful implementation of Industry 4.0 technologies has increased supply chain transparency. IT security has also become a much greater focus: companies are investing more in cyber security and dealing with it more consciously. This development is certainly also driven by the disproportionate increase in the number of IT security-related incidents - i.e., attacks on IT - in the past two years.