Growth Engine Machinery Sector

Four scenarios for a successful future in 2030

In ten years from now, customised new machines and radical service business models from the DACH region could dominate global mechanical engineering. But it could also be that giant tech companies from the software and Internet industry conquer key positions in the machine market and grab the majority of value creation - while at the same time highly transparent purchasing and service platforms usurp the spare parts business. The Deloitte study "Growth Engine Machinery Sector - Four scenarios for a successful future in 2030" uses four realistic scenarios to show what the industry needs to prepare for - and what measures companies can take today to be properly positioned for all scenarios.

Switzerland is a leading mechanical engineering nation. In the field of machine tool manufacturing, Switzerland ranks third in Europe, directly behind the much larger economies of Germany and Italy. Typical strengths such as innovation, quality awareness and reliability help Switzerland to successfully position itself in the market. Traditionally, the Swiss manufacturing industry works closely with its DACH neighbours.

The current Deloitte study "Growth Engine Machinery Sector 2030" shows that even critical future developments will not lead to the demise of the industry in the DACH region. On the contrary, engineering know-how from Germany, Austria and Switzerland will continue to be in demand worldwide even if tech companies dominate the business or competitors from China succeed in taking over technological leadership in the industry. On the other hand, in none of the scenarios the industry can sit back and relax. Either way, the next decades will require great efforts from the machine builders.

Growth Engine Machinery

Today's ideal industrial manufacturer makes hardware that is innovative, software that is reliabe and data services that add value.

Hans Hess, former president Swissmem

Ecosystem power and machine specialisation

One basic assumption of the study is that future machine offerings will continue to follow the trend toward increasingly complex packages of machine + service + software. For machine builders, this means working more and more in one or more ecosystems where specialised partners are responsible for data analytics, software or online services. Within an ecosystem, the partner who contributes the decisive value-added steps is usually the leader. Therefore, "power in the ecosystem" forms the first of the two variables in scenario selection.

A second basic assumption of the study is that digitisation tends to enable more flexible and more modular machines, with highly adaptable software at their core. These "standard machines" compete with "special machines" tailored to customer needs - the latter having shaped the mechanical engineering recipe for success in recent decades. Which of these two principles will prevail in which segment in the future is still open and will probably only be decided over the next few decades. Therefore, "specialisation versus standardisation" is the second scenario variable.

You can download here the complete study "Growth Engine Machinery Sector - Four scenarios for a successful future in 2030” and find out all the details about the scenarios and the recommendations for action for mechanical engineering companies. Despite all the challenges, we foresee a positive future, but further hard efforts are needed to ensure that mechanical engineering will still be the growth engine in the DACH region in 2030.

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