The market for Industry 4.0 projects, between It solutions, enabling technological components on traditional production assets and related services, reached a value of 3,2 billion euros in 2018, of which 82% was made to Italian companies and the rest exported projects, products and services

This is a value, up 35% compared to the previous year, driven by the fruits of the investments made in 2017, and invoiced in 2018, on the thrust of the National Plan Industry 4.0: +140% if you consider the last four years, to which must be added a induced of about 700

For 2019, according to the results of the first quarter, a slowdown in growth is estimated, which should be around +20-25%.

These are some of the results of the research of the Industry 4.0 Observatory of the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano (more information at this link).

Research by the PoliMi Industry 4.0 Observatory

The most widespread 4.0 technologies are It, in particular the Industrial IoT (the components to connect the machines to the network) which with a value of 1.9 billion euros represents 60% of the market and recorded the most marked growth (+40%), followed by Industrial Analy

Among the OTs (Operational Technologies), the analysis of the Observatory continues, the Advanced Automation gains the largest market share with 160 million and a 10% growth, followed by the Additive Manufacturing with 70 million euros, while the

The last part of the market is the consultancy and training activities related to Industry 4.0 projects: 220 million euros (+10%), a figure lower than the expectations that shows that there is still much to do on the skills front.

The Italian market for Industry 4.0 is running faster and faster, but to continue to grow and consolidate, it is necessary to involve HR departments and workers in the design and development of solutions. Workers are end users of technology, but only 7.8% of companies were actively involved in all stages of the projects and in more than one case in four (26.6%) were not even informed of the presence of a 4.0 strategy, while in just 6.8% of companies the HR function was not

Alessandro Perego, Andrea Sianesi and Marco Taisch, Scientific Managers of the Industry 4.0 Observatory explained that: :Many investments and industrial digitalization projects started in 2017 on the push of the Industry 4.0 National Plan The awareness and knowledge of 4.0 technologies are now widespread in all the productive realities of the country, but to seize all the opportunities offered by this revolution it is necessary to clearly define a role that guides digital change and to accompany new technologies an organizational model capable of involving workers, the

Industry 4.0 in Italy

Many Italian companies, highlights the Observatory, have begun the digital evolution process and the great majority have awareness of the discontinuity represented by the transformation 4.0.

Based on the survey of the Industry 4.0 Observatory of 192 companies (153 large companies and 39 SMEs), 80% believe that Industry 4.0 is a revolution that will bring radical changes with great potential yet to be expressed, only 20% consider it only a development of what has already been initiated in the But just one in three companies has made an assessment of their digital readiness, 54% are interested in doing so in the future, while 14% have not and do not intend to do so.

The Italian scenario is very dynamic from the point of view of the 4.0 applications. Almost 800 companies have recorded, on average, more than four initiatives per company, distributed in the three areas of the business processes: Smart Factory (production, logistics, maintenance, quality, safety and compliance with standards) with 42% of the projects, Smart Lifecycle (product development The most widespread technologies are those of the Industrial IoT (connectivity and acquisition of data, equal to 25%).

Once consolidated, 4.0 projects bring tangible benefits, especially in terms of flexibility and cost reduction. The main benefits of companies with active projects for over a year are the best production flexibility (47%), the increased efficiency of the plant (38%), the reduction in design times (34%) and the opportunity to develop innovative products (33%).

The most perceived barriers for companies to the development of applications 4.0 are the difficulties in the use of technology and the adoption of standards (59%), the problems of organization and management of skills (41%), the difficulties of change management (20%) and the dissatisfaction for the ic

In the next two years, companies intend to concentrate their investments in Industrial IoT (48%), Industrial Analytics (39%) and Advanced Automation (33%), while if you consider a horizon of 3-5 years, the priorities become Advanced Automation, C

Artificial Intelligence and Blockchain are not yet relevant in the investment plans for the next 5 years, with some exceptions for large companies.

Giovanni Miragliotta, Director of the Industry 4.0 Observatory, stressed: “Now almost all Italian companies have understood the urgency of digital transformation: 80% has a clear perception of the discontinuity represented by Industry 4.0 and that the path is only at the beginning. With an average of 4 applications 4.0 per company, the Italian scenario remains dynamic and full of initiatives, and it is noteworthy that companies that have carried out projects for over a year, so well-sounded, declare tangible benefits in terms of flexibility and cost reduction. In the current market scenario, flexibility and increased control capacity appear to be a significant added value of Industry 4.0

Skills 4.0

Italian companies that have started using 4.0 technologies in processes are now managing the impact on the organisation, and the Observatory is again in the spotlight. Most companies are attentive to process and flow changes (54.2% of the sample), to those in the work and working methods of the staff (45.3%) and to technical skills (42.7%).

Less than 20% focused on the impact on roles, managerial and relational skills and expected behaviour. When, however, companies focus on organisational aspects, they do so from the very first stages of the projects: 18.8% of the cases in the beginning and 20.8% during the development.

Usually the promoter of the 4.0 initiatives is a top manager (43.8% of the sample) or production manager or plant (35.4%). The R&D function is mainly involved in project development. The HR function, however, participates in very few cases in the various phases: only in 6.8% it was involved in all the steps, in 27.1% it is only informed of the start of the project, in 23.4% it did not have a role in any activity.

The involvement of operators is also limited: only 7.8% of companies involved them in all phases of project 4.0, 25% did not entrust any role. But even in 26.6% of cases operators were informed of the 4.0 strategy.

Raffaella Cagliano, Professor of People Management and Organization, Politecnico di Milano, said: › The data show how few companies are facing the 4.0 revolution with a systemic approach that looks at technological solutions and organizational model at This could represent a potential ballast on the way of the 4.0 Italian companies, which can limit the full and rapid achievement of the benefits not only for the company performance, but also for the enrichment of the operators.

57% of companies have already started identifying skills gaps 4.0 and taking action to address them. About three out of ten consider them appropriate and are working to improve them.

The decision to assess skills sees a strong participation of entrepreneurs and top managers (74%) and project managers 4.0, especially in the promotion, definition of objectives and evaluation (44%) phases. HR managers remain in the background and gain importance only in the implementation phase, confirming the difficulty to play a more strategic role in the transformation 4.0 process.

The analysis of skills and training, continues the Observatory, are entrusted in the majority to internal resources, in 61% and 75% of the cases respectively. The most common external collaborations for research skills are with universities, innovation centres, ITS, which 50% of companies consider effective.

Priority skills include smart factory and smart supply chain processes, as well as innovation in the strategy and business model enabled by Industry 4.0.

Sergio Terzi, Director of the Industry Observatory 4.0, commented: “In general, the picture emerges of an industrial fabric more aware of the extent of the gap to be bridged, decided to activate the resources available to form the most relevant skills, but to a large extent still in

Digital maturity of SMEs

The Observatory has analyzed the state of Industry 4.0 projects of about 600 companies through the DREAMY (Digital REadiness Assessment MaturitY model) tool, which evaluates the digital maturity of processes in terms of execution, monitoring and control capacity, organisation

The digital maturity of large companies is greater than SMEs in every dimension and process analysed, with a deviation of at least 0.5 points on a five-level maturity scale.

In SMEs, control (the ability to make decisions) is the structurally weaker dimension, followed by technology, i.e. the ability to use digital technologies in the execution and management of processes. Maintenance is the least developed process, with weak or absent management capacity in some cases.

Marco Macchi, Director of the Industry 4.0 Observatory, concluded the analysis: • At the start of the journey towards Industry 4.0, SMEs give priority to systems and technologies that enable innovation, product or process, which makes them competitive on the market It is crucial to invest in human capital, by inserting technical and managerial skills to build an ecosystem of relationships with partners to support the development of digitalisation; the entrepreneur and SME management remain the focus for innovation governance.

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