Industry 4.0 crucial for business success

07/10/2015 - Industry 4.0 crucial for business success

  • The greatest obstacles are growing demand for investment, shortage of skilled professionals and lacking standards
  • Four out of ten manufacturing companies already use Industry 4.0 applications
  • Company survey by Bitkom Research and EY

Stuttgart/Berlin, October 7, 2015

Industry 4.0 Intelligent components that inform the machines about their replacement necessity or devices that autonomously look for free production capacities for required components: the production digitalization and interconnectedness – known as “Industry 4.0” – are crucial for the future of Germany as a business location. This is one of the results of a representative survey of 554 manufacturing companies with 100 and more employees carried out by Bitkom Research and EY (Ernst & Young). According to the study results, more than three quarters of companies surveyed (79 percent) say that Industry 4.0 is already strategically important or even very important for their company. Almost as many (78 percent) expect its increasing importance in next five years.

Currently about four out of ten industrial firms (39 percent) use Industry 4.0 solutions, further 22 percent plan and 19 percent discuss their implementation. A mere 19 percent consider Industry 4.0 to not be a topic or not to have a strategical relevance for their company. Christoph Kilger, partner at EY, emphasizes: “With Industry 4.0 the processes in the factories become more efficient. Every piece is at the right time at the right place. This saves enormous costs – this contributes to the comparative advantage, especially in a high-wage country like Germany. That is why the topic is essential for competitiveness of companies and for Germany as a business location. Therefore, the implementing of intelligent applications in Germany factories has to be quickly fostered.”

“The implementation of Industry 4.0 applications has become the key success factor for the manufacturing sector”, says Dr. Axel Pols, the Managing Director of Bitkom Research. “Industry 4.0 application can contribute to optimization of processes, improved maintenance planning and cost-efficient production of a larger product spectrum in smaller batch sizes, among others. In particular, completely new business models are possible in the Industry 4.0. The companies have already recognized it though.”

The greatest obstacle while introducing Industry 4.0 applications, according to the survey results, is growing demand for investment. 64 percent of the companies surveyed name this point. 50 percent consider lacking standards as a big hindrance. “Common standards are essential for the success of Industry 4.0”, says Pols. “Machines and products have to be able to communicate with each other as smartphones do – even across a diverse range of sectors. Politics and industry have to shake a leg now. Then the investment costs will decrease as well.”

Further 57 percent consider the shortage of skilled professionals as the greatest obstacle while implementing Industry 4.0 applications. “In the tomorrow’s factories the boundaries between IT and production dissolve. This causes entirely new requirements for the future professionals”, says Kilger from EY. For example, the future mechanical or electrical engineers need to be able to program software. “This has to be reflected also at the universities – for instance through creating hybrid university programs.”

Press contact:

Ernst & Young GmbH

Dag-Stefan Rittmeister
Head of Press and PR EY
phone: +49 711 9881-15980

Bitkom Research
Katja Hampe
phone: (030) 27576-545


EY overview

EY is one of the three largest German auditing and consulting organizations. EY is a leading organization in Germany in tax advisory. It employs about 8’200 people in 22 locations and achieved in fiscal year 2013/14 a revenue of 1.4 billion euro. Together with 190’000 employees in the international corporation EY is in charge of client all over the world.

EY offers both the large and the middle-sized companies an extensive services portfolio: auditing, tax advisory, law advisory, transaction consultancy, advisory services and real estate consultancy.

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About Bitkom Research

Bitkom Research offers all-in-one market research services – from consulting, advising and conceptualizing via carrying out the surveys to PR marketing of the results. We deliver data and analyses that can be used by ICT providers and users in their business development decisions and that support the implementation of the marketing and PR.

Bitkom Research GmbH is a subsidiary of the Bitkom e.V. and has been analyzing issues around the digital economy for many years. Its clients are both middle-sized companies and global players and public institutions.