Roland Berger Survey 2016: Can Digital save the French industry?

AlstomTitled “French Plants going Digital”, the 4th edition of the study Roland Berger on the competitiveness of French industry suggests a rather bleak future.

While the American industry has recreated 855,000 new jobs in 5 years, the France continues to see its industrial jobs disappear. The balance will be negative by 50,000 positions over the period 2013-2023. If only 46% of factory directors interviewed hope to improve their competitiveness in 2016, they have realised the importance of digital.

Worried french factories principals before the acceleration of Supply Chain


The most critical points in the competitiveness of a production site (Source : Roland Berger / Manufacturing Competitiveness Radar 2015 Survey)

Nearly 200 factories are closed each year, it is the figure that reveals Georges de Thieulloy, partner at Roland Berger, author of the study “ French Manufacturing Competitiveness Radar 2015/2016“. 20% of industrial sites are considered as distressed by their management and this wave of closures will not be compensated by the creation of new sites. 177,000 jobs will be destroyed in the industrial sectors over the period 2013/2023 against only 128,000 created. By comparison, the services sector should create 837.000 net jobs.

The first reason given by the interviewed directions is obviously the cost of labor. However they are increasingly concerned about a new element: the acceleration of supply chains. Finally when asked in detail, we see that the theme of operational efficiency, supply chain, process and purchase of first way widely take precedence over the cost of the work or the qualification of the staff.

Companies more and more connected and that must react in real time to the vagaries of the market, it is a concept that has emerged for several years in the automotive sector. It will become mainstream in many others and the Germany already preparing in its large processing industry 4.0 program.

Cybersécurité, RFID et robotique, les 3 domaines où le numérique va avoir le plus fort impact sur l’industrie


Understanding and impact of the concepts of the digital factory according to the french factory directors in 2015 (Source : Roland Berger / Manufacturing Competitiveness Radar 2015 Survey)

French industrialists are facing real difficulties, but they are well aware of the areas key to the digital plant of the future. Cyber Security, RFID, and Robotics are areas that should have the greatest impact on their business. 3D printing is relatively well known to our factory (at 65%) principals however only 24% believes it will have a strong impact on their activity. The figures are pretty – much the same for rapid prototyping. The need to robotize in order of production processes is now acquired. 89% have understood the importance of Robotics in the competitiveness race and 73% believe that it will have a strong impact on their activity. It is the highest figure achieved in this survey.

Other figures are more alarming. 41% only know Big Data and 32% think that it will have an impact at home. The concept of factory connected is trolling: 32% know the concept but only 24% believes that this will have an impact. On augmented reality, one remains in science fiction. 16% know what it is, and only 14% believe that this will have a significant impact.

Source : “French Manufacturing Competitiveness Radar 2015/2016“, Roland Berger release, December 21, 2015

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