A Boston Consulting Group (BCG) survey polled more than 300 German and US manufacturing executives about if they had applied digital solutions to factories, or had future plans. The German companies beat the American firms in both categories. Only 17 percent of German and US manufacturers already use such tech in their factories. However, while over 40 percent of German companies plan to take the step in the future, about one-quarter of American businesses do, according to Business Insider.
Furthermore, German companies appear to be better prepared to adopt Industry 4.0. Almost half (47%) of the German companies have developed their first full Industry 4.0 concepts, and only 18% of German respondents say that their company is not yet prepared to introduce Industry 4.0 technologies. In contrast, only 29% of US companies have developed their first concepts, and 41% say that their company is not yet prepared.
The extent to which companies benefit from Industry 4.0 will depend on how successfully they build and manage newly skilled talent pools, the report noted. Respondents recognize the challenge: 40% of German companies and 35% of US companies regard the lack of qualified employees as a major (“big” or “very big”) challenge.
To close the Industry 4.0 qualifications gap, German companies appear to be considering an approach that is less aggressive than that of US companies. Consistent with the constraints imposed by Germany’s strict labor regulations, almost two-thirds (64%) of German respondents say that they will focus on continuing education to ensure that their current employees are qualified for Industry 4.0. (See Exhibit 5.) They place much less emphasis on occupational retraining (15%) and recruitment of new talent (20%). In contrast, approximately half (48%) of US respondents say that they will focus on continuing education, while about one-quarter will focus on occupational retraining (27%) and hiring new talent (25%).
BCG's report also shows that global manufacturers are making big investments in IoT. Worldwide spending on IoT solutions will skyrocket from $29 billion in 2015 to $70 billion in 2020.
Wrist wearables, smart cars, and healthcare facilities could use IoT technologies in an industry estimated to be worth $1.9 trillion through the year 2024, according to The Motley Fool.