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Bitkom: Industry open, but still cautious about Manufacturing-X

April 18, 2024. Increasing productivity, avoiding supply bottlenecks, improving sustainability – if German industry has its way, data will play a central role in production in the future. One in three industrial companies (34%) believe that the exchange of data along the value chain will be crucial to the competitiveness of German industry. This is the result of a survey conducted on behalf of the digital association Bitkom among 604 companies, including 160 industrial companies, in the run-up to the Hannover Messe.

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The Manufacturing-X initiative is pursuing the goal of creating such a cross-company data ecosystem. It aims to enable end-to-end data networking of all players involved in the value chain and thus secure the global pioneering role of German industry. It will also be the focus of next week’s Hannover Messe. Although most German industrial companies are aware of the initiative, only a minority have actively engaged with it to date: A total of 77 percent of German industrial companies have heard or read about Manufacturing-X. So far, however, only 1 percent of companies have stated that they are already involved, while a further 4 percent of industrial companies are planning to participate.

Many more would be open to participating in general: 29 percent can imagine doing so. Most (58 percent) of industrial companies have not yet participated because they have not been involved enough or not at all. Only 2 percent have actively decided against participating. The first funding projects are currently underway. “The great openness of companies towards greater data exchange shows that the potential of digitalized value chains in industry is being recognized. Companies should deal intensively with the complex issue of digital data rooms in order to realize their benefits as soon as possible. In the long term, the full benefits of a digital data room for industry can only be realized if everyone involved in the value chain participates,” says Bitkom CEO Dr. Bernhard Rohleder.

In concrete terms, 49% of industrial companies believe that the digital exchange of data along the value chain will increase the productivity of German industry. 41 percent of companies say that this will make German industry more resilient to disruptions such as supply bottlenecks. In addition, more than half (55%) of industrial companies are convinced that digital value chains will make a key contribution to greater sustainability in industry. “So far, data can make processes in individual companies transparent and be used for more efficient and sustainable management. However, even more can be gained if data can be exchanged between companies and processes along the entire value chain can be coordinated in detail,” says Rohleder. “Such an exchange requires uniform standards and a secure platform. Manufacturing-X is the key here.”

Note on methodology

The data is based on a survey conducted by Bitkom Research on behalf of the digital association Bitkom. A total of 604 companies with 20 or more employees were surveyed by telephone, including 160 industrial companies. The survey took place in the period from week 1 to week 6 2024. The overall survey is representative. The questions were: “Have you ever read or heard of Manufacturing-X?” and “Would your company consider participating in this initiative?” as well as “Please tell me to what extent you think the following statements about Manufacturing-X are true.”

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