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The big rethink: Manufacturing in a digital world

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Manufacturing in Sweden is on the verge of paradigm shift – a Fourth Industrial Revolution of connected machines, reconfigurable systems, advanced robotics and seamless information flows. Sweden's Smart Industry strategy has been launched to meet this challenge.

Smart Industry is a strategic initiative launched by the Swedish government to strengthen Sweden’s capacity for change and competitiveness in a shifting landscape for manufacturing and production. The emerging, data-driven industrial age promises to unlock vast opportunities for innovation. But the transition also presents some real threats.

The strategy emphasises the following four focus areas:

  • Industry 4.0 – Companies in the Swedish industrial sector are to be leaders of the digital transformation and in exploiting the potential of digitalisation.

  • Sustainable production – Increased resource efficiency, environmental considerations and a more sustainable production are to contribute to the industrial sector's value creation, job creation and competitiveness.

  • Industrial skills boost – The system for supplying skills is to meet the industrial sector's needs and promote its long-term development.

  • Test bed Sweden – Sweden is to lead research in areas that contribute to strengthening the industrial production of goods and services in Sweden. 

Mindset challenge

Rapid globalisation and the dawn of a new technological society have brought sweeping transformation to large sectors in recent years including retail, healthcare, telecom and finance. Manufacturing is now next in line.

Many manufacturing firms still use technologies developed in the 1960s, like programmable logic controller (PLC) systems. When they migrate to digital-based systems and harness the power of data, it will open up big opportunities in connected production, automation and sustainability.

But success depends on a mindset challenge. Today’s corporate leaders need to rethink business models and, crucially, put IT and digital technologies at the heart of physical operations. Only by reassessing their value position can companies prepare for a reshaped, on-demand economy of goods and services driven by fast changing customer demands and expectations.   

A window of opportunity

With the Smart Industry initiative, the Swedish government has taken action to strengthen the development of the industrial sector and reinforce Sweden’s position in a global market. Digital manufacturing is the smart way to go – and the key to long-term competitiveness.

By rethinking and embracing new technologies across the value chain, companies can adopt smarter practices and:

  • Reduce time to market and increase responsiveness
  • Make considerable cost savings
  • Cut material waste by up to 70 per cent
  • Simulate concepts and accelerate innovation
  • Create new business models and monetise data
  • Get a 360-degree view of production lines and customers in real time
  • Set up their own ecosystems and value networks
  • Pave the way for innovations such as mass-customisation of products

As a world IT leader with a highly skilled workforce, a rich industrial heritage and a diverse network of sub-suppliers, Sweden is well placed to lead the historic transformation to Industry 4.0.

Want to know more? Read the full Smart Industry strategy and follow our updates at @BusinessSweden to get all the insights you need. 

Photo: Kristian Pohl/Regeringskansliet

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Klas Ericson

Investment Advisor Sweden Investment Advisor, Sweden
+46 70 222 78 02
E-mail klas.ericson@business-sweden.se
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Andreas Scheibenpflug

Investment Advisor Sweden Investment Advisor , Sweden
+46 70 277 83 94
E-mail Andreas.Scheibenpflug@business-sweden.se