Semiconductors, Electronics and Pharmaceuticals Lead Digital Transformation in Manufacturing

  • The Smart Industry Readiness Index is the first international programme to benchmark the current state of manufacturing globally
  • Data from nearly 600 manufacturing companies across 30 countries reveals new trends and identifies leading industries
  • Semiconductors, Electronics, and Pharmaceuticals sectors are frontrunners in digital transformation, with top companies focusing on connectivity and digital process integration
  • Productivity and quality-linked performance indicators are key focus areas for both multinational corporations (MNCs) and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) alike, but flexibility and speed are fast-emerging areas of priority
  • The International Centre for Industrial Transformation – an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization – has been established to work with both public and private sector partners to scale the SIRI Programme internationally
  • Access the full report data and supporting materials here

Geneva, Switzerland, 10 February 2022 – A new report launched today by the World Economic Forum reveals that the semiconductors, electronics and pharmaceuticals sectors are leading the way in the digital transformation of manufacturing. The Manufacturing Transformation Insights Report

In collaboration with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB), the report draws on data from close to 600 manufacturing companies in 30 countries that underwent the Official SIRI Assessment (OSA): a two-day independent review of a factory or plant. The report outlines the current state of industrial transformation across different sectors, and presents detailed case studies on how different stakeholders – ranging from manufacturers to industry associations and governments – are actively leveraging the SIRI programme to accelerate their digital transformation journeys.

The top five most digitally mature sectors in 2019 and 2022.
The top five most digitally mature sectors in 2019 and 2022.

Key findings:

1.Semiconductors, Electronics and Pharmaceuticals lead the 2022 Maturity rankings, with Logistics making gains

Despite their frontrunning positions, these top three industries are not shielded from present-day challenges like the ongoing value-chain disruptions, global chip shortage and industrial decarbonization. These developments will reshape the global manufacturing landscape and companies from these leading sectors – as long-standing pioneers of innovation and adopters of new concepts and technologies – must confront these topics proactively to redefine them into opportunities for all.

2. A high level of diversity exists across various industry sectors; more tailored approaches are required to better support industry transformation

Governments and solution providers tend to apply “one-size-fits-all” approaches in supporting manufacturers on their digitalization journeys, such as state-level subsidies for the adoption of new automation equipment or industry-led forums that study use cases of global companies. The impact and efficacy of such blanket interventions has been limited.

3. The most digitally mature companies are seeking to integrate their already digitized processes and systems, while the average manufacturer is still looking to digitize existing operational processes

New digital and hardware technologies, coupled with integrative design principles, have opened a world of possibilities for manufacturers. Over the past two years, most manufacturers have taken first steps towards digitalization in response to pandemic-related challenges. Companies which have started earlier are now progressing to the next level of integrating their digitized processes.

4. Top companies have focused significantly on Connectivity to enable greater integration and insights

In today’s digital economy, connectivity is fast joining automation as a key driver of success. Top companies acknowledge the importance of Connectivity. Many have already established interoperable and secure networks within their production sites, where equipment, machinery and computer-based systems can interact and exchange information with few restrictions.

5. Manufacturers should put more emphasis in refreshing and broadening their strategies for digitalization and workforce retraining

With the advent of digitalization, job scopes and work arrangements are evolving rapidly. As manufacturers formalize their digitalization strategies to upgrade their manufacturing and enterprise processes, there is a need to also re-examine the way they organize their workforce and workspaces as remote working becomes more prevalent in the digital era.

6. Productivity- and quality-linked KPIs are key focus areas of MNCs and SMEs, but flexibility and speed are fast-emerging areas of priority

Exponential demand growth, changing consumer patterns and chronic supply-chain disruptions during the pandemic have prompted some groups of companies to shift their focus to flexibility and speed-related KPIs to strengthen adaptability and resiliency. Initiatives that demonstrate such shifts include efforts by manufacturers to reorganize their supply chains based on regional geographical markets, practising dual/triple sourcing and adopting hybrid inventory management models that include elements of both “just-in-time” and “just-in-case” strategies.

7. Data confirms SME-dominated sectors are less mature than MNC-dominated sectors

Exponential demand growth, changing consumer patterns and chronic supply-chain disruptions during the pandemic have prompted some groups of companies to shift their focus to flexibility and speed-related KPIs to strengthen adaptability and resiliency. Initiatives that demonstrate such shifts include efforts by manufacturers to reorganize their supply chains based on regional geographical markets, practising dual/triple sourcing and adopting hybrid inventory management models that include elements of both “just-in-time” and “just-in-case” strategies.

8.MNCs and companies ahead of the maturity curve are more likely to plan for the long term

To support the international scale-up of SIRI, a new non-governmental, not-for-profit organization – International Centre for Industrial Transformation (INCIT) – has also been established. As a neutral, independent entity, INCIT will work with both the public and private sector manufacturing-related organizations to catalyze and support industrial transformation across geographies and industries.

As part of the launch of the report, the Forum and EDB will be co-organizing a webinar on 24 February 2022, 11.00 CET / 18.00 SGT. The webinar will include a presentation by the Forum on key findings from the report, as well as a panel discussion by key industry leaders. To sign-up for this webinar, please visit the event’s registration page.

Jeremy Jurgens, Managing Director of the World Economic Forum, said: “The Global SIRI Initiative is one of our fastest growing initiatives, having scaled internationally to more than 30 countries over the last 18 months. Through this report, we hope to revolutionize the way by which the global manufacturing community approaches digital transformation; from one that is anecdote-based to one that relies on a standardized methodology and is supported by quantitative insights.”

Beh Swan Gin, Chairman of EDB, said: “Our partnership with the Forum has established SIRI as an independent, international benchmark to accelerate the pace of transformation for the manufacturing sector around the world. The insights and real-life case studies presented in this report will provide public and private sector stakeholders with the ability to develop tailored interventions and uncover new opportunities that digital transformation can offer.”

Raimund Klein, Chief Executive Officer of INCIT, said: “We are confident that the findings from this second edition of the Manufacturing Transformation Insights Report will modernize the way by which the global manufacturing community approaches digitalization. As we progress into the post-COVID new normal, we invite manufacturers – of all sizes and industries – to take decisive action by leveraging the SIRI Programme to set themselves on the right trajectory for transformation.”

Global Smart Industry Readiness Index (SIRI)

The Manufacturing Transformation Insights Report is a key contribution to the World Economic Forum’s Global SIRI initiative. The initiative aims to accelerate deployment and adoption of SIRI as the internationally recognized standard for Industry 4.0 benchmarking and transformation. The goal is to catalyse the adoption of Industry 4.0 methodologies and technologies in the global manufacturing community and provide quantitative indicators for international benchmarking. To learn more, visit here.

/WEF Release. This material from the originating organization/author(s) may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s).View in full here.