Over the past three years, nearly 60 percent of businesses in the manufacturing sector have implemented digitalisation projects, and possible energy savings were cited as a reason significantly more often than in 2020. However, this process also confronts businesses with various challenges. These were the findings of a representative survey of 1,500 companies carried out by ZEW Mannheim by way of a study on behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK).
As part of this study, companies that had completed digitalisation projects in the past three years were surveyed on their main motives for these initiatives. Aside from energy savings, the companies also highlighted other reasons, such as implementing work from home or fulfilling specific customer or client requirements.
The last manufacturing sector survey in 2020 found that energy savings, at 30 percent, were at the bottom of the ranking, making them the least frequently cited of the seven reasons surveyed. However, in the current survey, the rating of energy savings has increased significantly, both in number of citations (up by 12 percentage points) and in their relative importance compared to other factors. Energy savings are currently in fourth place of the seven reasons surveyed for implementing digitalisation measures.
However, many companies are faced with multiple obstacles, the greatest of which are supply difficulties, a lack of the required materials and products (both digital and non-digital) and the shortage of qualified staff for installation and implementation. Additionally, around a fourth of all businesses deal with a lack of internal know-how regarding suitable digital technologies or find out that there are no adequate digital technologies to meet their specific requirements.