In 2020 and into 2021, industrial companies in the EMEA region have been hit by high impact transformations including multiple waves of COVID-19 and many major geo-political events.

In this context, companies that have made more extensive advances in digital transformation and digital technology deployment have historically delivered a better business performance than their ‘non-digital’ counterparts.

This was revealed in IDC’s Executive Brief – Executive Predictions For Industrial Digital Transformation in EMEA: 2021 (And Beyond), sponsored by Rockwell Automation, which is based on a survey of more than 400 industrial companies across the EMEA region, and examines how businesses have adjusted their approach to digital transformation in the face of uncertainty, and how those changes have affected them and will continue to affect them into the future.

Jan Burian, Head of IDC Manufacturing Insights EMEA, IDC, said that IDC expects that, by the end of 2021, 90% of all manufacturing supply chains will have invested in the technology and business processes necessary for true resilience, resulting in productivity improvements of 5%.

Remaining relevant in the market

To stay relevant in current market conditions, companies need to drive integrated fulfillment through digital supply networks by enabling flexible reactions to changes in demand, supply, and resources.

This quest for resilience starts with mitigating risks in the face of higher complexity of operations. According to IDC’s Supply chain survey of EMEA companies, sponsored by Rockwell Automation, managing logistics and fulfillment and achieving end-to-end visibility are the two areas that are critical to managing risk across the supply chain.

“Therefore, it is not a surprise that according to the same IDC research, operations rank as the top area of focus for EMEA companies when it comes to an investment aimed at improving supply chain and operational processes. In fact, as plants are now seen as supply chain bottlenecks, they are becoming the primary targets for new investments. Companies realize that business process reinvention and business model transformation must be enabled by solid plant capabilities and a “back to basics” attitude that sees operations as a key contributor to companies’ value proposition,” the IDC Executive Brief states.

In fact, Lorenzo Veronesi, Research Manager, IDC Manufacturing Insights EMEA, IDC, said that the IDC expects that, to support autonomous operations, by 2022, organisations will increase their investments in data governance, digital engineering functions, and digital operations technologies by 40%.

The past year has demonstrated beyond a doubt the need for a comprehensive digital transformation strategy. Companies falling short of the ‘digital divide’ have struggled to adapt, while those who have embraced and made significant advances in Industry 4.0 have thrived.

Susana Gonzalez, EMEA President at Rockwell Automation, explained that with signs of recovery being reported throughout the news, it’s important to look ahead and consider the lessons learned.

“We need to be flexible about how we approach this year and resist the urge to cling to the ‘old ways’. If we are open to changing our perceptions based on experience, then we are able to grow – our beliefs are only valid until they are disproven.

“I, like many, once thought that to be efficient in sales and customer relations, you had to be out in the field all the time. COVID-19 happened, we adapted, and the sky didn’t fall – we’re still selling and we’re still serving our customers. Even I have been surprised at just how successful the process of adapting has been,” Gonzalez concludes.

Major supply chains will invest in technology by the end of 2021
Susana Gonzalez, EMEA President at Rockwell Automation
(Credit: Rockwell Automation)

The IDC Executive Brief – Executive Predictions for Industrial Digital Transformation in EMEA for 2021 (and Beyond) – includes:

  • Managing accelerated disruption
  • Developing a strategic approach to digital transformation
  • Creating high-impact processes
  • Transforming the workforce experience
  • Future-proofing the technology stack
  • Improving performance by Implementing a holistic digital transformation strategy
  • Delivering real business results by prioritizing technology and process convergence
  • Having a connected technology stack and high quality of data

Discover what the future holds for your business in the IDC Executive Brief: Executive Predictions for Industrial Digital Transformations in EMEA: 2021 (and Beyond).

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