This article is continuation of part XI. The electrical industry, with its medium-sized structure, shows a rather reluctant behaviour towards pronounced digitization of its busyness. On the other hand, the many hidden champions of the electrical industry show a high level of innovation. The industry is very investing in research and development, which today almost always includes digitization and, increasingly, networking.
However, the electrical industry is a cross-sectional industry that provides consumer goods as well as, for example, energy or automation technology. Not all products in the various segments are characterized by such a digital affinity as the consumer electronics division. Nevertheless, compared to the other sectors, the strategic orientation of the industry is more towards digitization. Every third of the companies surveyed in different studies prioritized the importance of digital transformation as high and another 38% placed it on a medium level.
This orientation also supports the investment costs of the companies. More than half of the companies intend to significantly increase spending on digital progress, but the implementation of these projects remains questionable as the strategic responsibility is largely unclear. Change management to support the digital transformation is also mostly not available.
The internal influencing factors of companies in the electrical industry are equally mediocre. This is demonstrated by the relationship between digital and paper-based information, such as the scope of paper-based business processes and the resulting media breaks in company processes.
Factors such as the mobility of business and work processes and the integrated use of social media communication also achieve below-average values. Adaptation to digital business models or complete reorientation is also low compared to the other industries.
The factory digitization of production, low vertical integration and just-in-time production, as well as the electronic data exchange with the supplier networks of the manufacturers, show a long-lasting digital change in the automotive industry. In production, the database from real recorded production sites using 3D technology for process optimization, as well as the digital image of the production processes, enables quick and flexible adaptation of production to individual customer requirements.
Tools such as advanced analytics or smart logistics have also been used for a long time to increase quality and efficiency in the automotive industry. Not only the factories and production processes of the automobile manufacturers are affected by digitization, but also their products themselves. Electronic control processes, as well as assistance and entertainment functions, have long since reached the car of today. At the latest, the rumours about an iCar from Apple or tests by Google with robot cars showed the future orientation of vehicles towards digitization.
Sales and workshops, which are also part of the automotive industry, are more dependent on digitization than the manufacturers. Digital services such as the individual configuration options for vehicles have been around for a long time, but otherwise, there are only a few digital processes in direct customer contact. There is hardly any digital transformation in this area. Processes are already largely digital in this industry and without the medium of paper. However, doing without paper-based information does not mean digital transformation in the broadest sense. Only one in five of the companies surveyed is free from media breaks, and new digital business models are largely not planned. There is also a lack of clear transformation strategies.
With the energy transition, new digital influences arose and with the new competitors on the supply market, which is dominated by energy companies. With a smart grid, smart metering or even smart homes, energy suppliers have to adapt to completely new requirements in terms of digital data usage.
However, the IT energy supplying companies with their limited integration of business processes and the deficient interaction between business and IT processes major hurdles for the future competitiveness is. Neither the new digital business models interesting for energy providers. As a result, the question of who is responsible for digital transformation has only been clarified in a few companies. The investment behaviour of the utility companies can be classified as rather defensive. Half of the energy suppliers have increased their investment budget considerably and a further 30% want to make a significantly higher investment, but the other half of the providers is still stagnating. The situation is completely different when the medium is paper. In almost half of the utility companies, it only plays a minor role in at least 70% of the business processes. However, the ratio between electronic and paper-based information is mediocre. Also, due to the coexistence of digital and paper-based documents, there is still a high degree of media breaks in business processes. Click here to read the next part.