Digitisation offers immense opportunities for growth

Digitisation is a make or break issue for Europe’s manufacturing industry. No one can afford to be left out, as digitisation offers immense opportunities for growth.

Digitisation is changing the world and represents either a threat or an opportunity. It is a matter of choice. No one can hide from competition, nor can the old working methods be saved by prohibitions and regulations. When talking about digitisation, traditional manufacturing industry is quite often forgotten, although it is precisely its renewal, competitiveness and growth that are the foundations of our entire economy and a matter of vital importance. Successful renewal will provide immense opportunities for growth, while clinging to past methods will undermine competitiveness.

Digitisation affects everyone

Rather many companies complacently imagine that digitisation does not affect them.

“It is time to start worrying if digitisation isn’t on the agenda at meetings of the management group and board of directors”, says the CEO of Fastems Group, Tomas Hedenborg, who is also currently the president of Orgalime, The European Engineering Industries Association.

The Federation of Finnish Technology Industries hosted the Orgalime General Assembly on 1 June in Helsinki. At an open seminar at the event, discussion particularly focused on the digitisation of industry and the investment required. Greetings from Brussels on the EU Commission’s measures to promote the digitisation of industry were delivered by Juho Romakkaniemi, Jyrki Katainen’s Head of Cabinet. In turn, Jan Vapaavuori, Vice-President of the EIB, concentrated on the necessity for investment and how it could be financed.

Growth and jobs

Orgalime and the Federation of Finnish Technology Industries thank a recent Commission communication (http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-16-1407_en.htm) for acknowledging the central position of industry as a facilitator and beneficiary of digitisation.

“Growth and jobs will be created by investing in digitisation and automation”, stresses Mr Hedenborg.

In addition to its own measures, the Commission is also calling for investment from member states and businesses.

“Finland has set a good example in innovation activity combining public and private sector financing, but that lead has unfortunately been lost during the last year” says Federation Director Ilkka Niemelä in reference to cuts in research and development funding.

“Mechanical engineering is the only sector where companies have increased their investment in research and development since 2008. There is now a danger that both combined public-private sector technological development and universities’ applied research will decline”, Mr Niemelä continues.

Trailblazers show the way

Good examples for the discussion on the necessity of renewal and change are provided by the top Finnish companies Wärtsilä, Kemppi and Nokia, which have all, in their own fields, reinvented themselves and succeeded in rapidly increasing their market share.

Additional information:

Adrian Harris, Director General, Orgalime +32 2 706 82 35

Ilkka Niemelä, Director. Federation of Finnish Technology Industries. Tel. +358 40 545 2213

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