Is Switzerland ready for the fourth industrial revolution?
A new Deloitte survey has revealed that while companies around the world are aware of the far-reaching social impact of Industry 4.0, finding the right strategies, acquiring the necessary talent and investing in advanced technologies remain a challenge.
The Deloitte study The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here – are you ready? surveyed 1,600 C-suite executives across 19 countries on their Industry 4.0 readiness in the four areas of social impact, strategy, talent and technology. 87% of respondents believe Industry 4.0 will lead to more social and economic equality and stability. Two out of three say businesses will have much more influence than governments in shaping the new digital world. Only 14% are highly confident that their organisations are ready to harness fully the changes associated with Industry 4.0.
A vast majority need to modify their current strategies to take advantage of the new opportunities. Only a quarter of respondents are highly confident they have the right workforce and digital skills required for the future. All respondents indicated that technology investment is driven by the need to support new business models. However, the economic benefit of long-term investments in advanced technologies has yet to be recognised. Survey respondents cited a number of reasons for this including a focus on the short term (37%), lack of collaboration with external partners (38%) and a lack of internal alignment and strategies (43%).
Swiss companies and Industry 4.0
These new findings are similar to the results of the Swiss Deloitte study Industry 4.0 from a few years ago. Swiss companies see the change towards Industry 4.0 as inevitable and expect substantial competitive advantages for Swiss industry in the long term, although a small minority see digital transformation as having already an impact on their current business. The greatest benefits for Swiss companies are new opportunities for flexible customer integration and a sharp boost in production quality and efficiency. Data security remains the key risk, notably within the digital network of development, production and sales.
An additional precondition for success in the context of Industry 4.0 is the clarification of the question of resources for Swiss companies: Only one-third of respondents think they have an appropriate IT infrastructure in place to benefit from Industry 4.0 opportunities while a large majority lack the talent required for digital transformation. Investments in both resource areas and in new technologies are required.
Achieving digital future readiness through transformation
Digital transformation in the age of Industry 4.0 represents a multidimensional challenge, as indicated by the results of last year’s Deloitte study Digital future readiness of Swiss companies. It is not just about starting a comprehensive transformation project. Transformation includes a new mindset or question of attitude and starts with each and every one. Transformational change needs to occur throughout Swiss companies – their organisational structure, culture, people and digital environment – if they are to remain competitive. New processes, cooperative management styles, flat hierarchies and open form of collaboration and external partnerships are necessary. The corporate culture needs to reflect entrepreneurial thinking, a focus on the customer and the ability to adapt to constant change. An increased focus on education, training and development of technological and digital skills of employees is important.
Successful companies of the future are already encouraging their employees to be creative, experiment, make mistakes – and learn from them to innovate successfully and sustainably. Companies need to rethink their approach completely, jettisoning old thought patterns and linear processes. Adopting agile and flexible processes and using the entire digital environment will not only help companies spot the next disruption in the age of Industry 4.0, it might even help them become disruptors themselves.