COVID-19 crisis leads to digitization push in Germany's industry: Bitkom

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BERLIN, April 7 (Xinhua) -- The coronavirus pandemic that hits German industry with full force also leads to a digitization boost in companies, according to German digital association Bitkom on Wednesday.

A study on the digitization of German industry on behalf of Bitkom, for which 551 industrial companies with 100 or more employees were surveyed between February and March 2021, showed that 95 percent of German companies said that digitization became more important to their business in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Forty-two percent of the surveyed industrial companies said that they have so far got through the pandemic period very poorly, around 23 percent, rather poorly. Meanwhile, 63 percent of the companies said that digital technologies help them to cope with the pandemic. And 77 percent found that companies whose business model has already been digitized can get through the crisis better.

"The manufacturing and processing sector is the backbone of the German economy," said Bitkom chief executive Bernhard Rohleder. The pandemic showed that digitization "not only brings efficiency gains and competitive advantages in normal mode, but is also a highly effective crisis precaution. "

"The pandemic must be used to advance the digital transformation of German industry," he said.

The survey also found that 81 percent of German companies were already adapting existing products and services, while almost half were offering new products and services as a response to the COVID-19 crisis.

At the same time, six out of ten German companies already used applications of Industry 4.0, the progressing automation of traditional manufacturing and industrial processes using modern smart technology, such as networked production plants, real-time communication between machines or intelligent robots.

The pandemic could "provide a sustained digitization push in factories in the coming months," Bitkom noted. A majority of German companies planned to drive forward digitization in the long term as a result of the crisis. Enditem

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