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A representative survey of more than 600 German companies with 20 or more employees conducted by the digital association Bitkom concludes that there is still a lot of catching up to do when it comes to implementing Industry 4.0: a 56% majority of SMEs rate themselves as digital laggards, while only 37% see themselves as pioneers. Even so, only an absolute minority of 2% feel that they have completely missed the development boat. The self-assessment of large companies and groups with 500 or more employees and 2000 or more employees is more positive: 58% and 65% respectively see themselves as Industry 4.0 pioneers. For the economy as a whole, this means that 39% of all companies consider themselves as digital pioneers, 55% as laggards and 3% as left in the dust.

There are striking differences between the various sectors: while only 30% of all industrial companies describe themselves as forerunners and 61% as laggards, 49% of retailers and 37% of service providers see themselves as digital pioneers. SMEs in particular are nevertheless struggling with the introduction of Industry 4.0 technologies: according to a new Industry 4.0 study , rather than lacking support programs and initiatives, they often lack qualified personnel.