Digitalization in the process industry

Ensuring SMEs can keep pace

Hidden champions are the engine of Germany’s economy and employment machine. They are the driving force behind countless innovations and a strong partner for companies around the world. To ensure they remain competitive in the future, many companies are forging ahead with the digital transformation. The importance of digitalization was again clearly demonstrated with the onset of the Corona pandemic. A large number of companies had to shift to remote operations within a very short period of time and were uncertain about how to digitalize their processes and systems.

With Bilfinger’s digital solutions, we are addressing the needs of SMEs in the process industry.

Franz Braun, CEO of Bilfinger Digital Next GmbH

“SMEs are in danger of losing their status as hidden champions if the digital transformation is not dealt with in a sustainable manner,” says Franz Braun, CEO of Bilfinger Digital Next. In his opinion, the following success factors are key to the implementation of digitalization in the process industry:  

  • Digitalization is not an end in itself: It must deliver added value for the customer, through reduced costs, for example.
  • Digitalization requires leadership: The main parameters for the digital strategy must be clearly developed and defined by senior management.
  • Digitalization is 50 percent technology and 50 percent organizational development: Employees are often forgotten when it comes to digitalization. They need to be integrated and given relevant training.

“To date, SMEs in particular have managed to postpone digitalization or they have been unable to successfully implement pilot projects,” Braun explained in his presentation at the Festival INDUSTRY forward Expo, a digital conference on industry-related topics held from February 23 to March 16, 2021. “With Bilfinger’s digital solutions, we are addressing the needs of SMEs in the process industry.”

Bilfinger Digital Next focuses on the area that has the greatest leverage for the process industry: Operations 4.0, the digitalization of all production-related activities in the process industry. In addition to actual production, this also includes topics such as energy and CO2 optimization, engineering, plant documentation, maintenance and knowledge management. And we cannot overlook corporate organization and culture – they are of course interconnected in a variety of ways.

Advantages for customers include productivity increases of 10, 15 or even 30 percent. Unscheduled downtime can be reduced by up to 25 percent, maintenance costs can be cut by up to 10 percent and quality improvement can be enhanced by up to 7 percent.

Contact in case of questions:

Frank Hertling
Director Global Business Development
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