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GMIS in Germany discusses role of SMEs
October 08, 2017
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DRESDEN: The State of Saxony hosted the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit (GMIS) roadshow in the Federal Republic of Germany, where manufacturing sector experts came together at the headquarters of Globalfoundries in Dresden to share insights on the role of SMEs in global value chains.

The event was attended by Stanislaw Tillich, Prime Minister of the Free State of Saxony, Dr. Peter Failer, Head of the UNIDO Investment and Technology Promotion Office in Germany, Dr. Rutger Wijburg, General Manager, Globalfoundries, Ralf Michael Franke, CEO Business Unit Factory Automation, Siemens AG and Peter Nothnagel, Managing Director of the Saxony Economic Development Corporation.

The event also held a signing ceremony between the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit and the Saxony Economic Development Corporation to promote fourth industrial revolution technologies that can achieve inclusive and sustainable industrial development globally. Established in 1991 as a state-owned enterprise, the Saxony Economic Development Corporation promotes Saxony as a business destination by providing advisory services to investors from the concept and all the way to implementation of their projects, as well as assisting companies located in Saxony with their export targets and developing opportunities for cooperation with companies located outside of Saxony.

The state of Saxony has one of the largest manufacturing sectors in the Federal Republic of Germany, with revenues from the manufacturing sector exceeding 63 billion euros in 2016. The state has an advanced automotive sector and is home to Volkswagen, BMW, and Porsche, employing a total of 95,000 employees in the sector alone. Saxony also has one of the most advanced ICT sectors in Europe, with one in every two semiconductor chips manufactured in Europe carrying the “made in Saxony” brand. “Silicon Saxony”, an ICT and semiconductors manufacturing cluster, employs approximately 60 thousand employees. Saxony is also central to the machinery industry in Germany by way of its great strength in mechanical engineering, and its supply of textile machines, printing and manufacturing tools that has been ongoing for more than two centuries.

Saxony’s Prime Minister Stanislaw Tillich said: “In today’s world, production plants can independently accept and process orders, while machines can request spare parts and maintenance; digitisation has revolutionised industrial production worldwide. Expanding beyond national borders, manufacturing is growing both technologically and economically. As such, Saxony offers a strong business location that is considered to be one of Europe’s most innovative regions, bringing together many committed entrepreneurs and clever minds. This is also shown here at Globalfoundries, in the heart of Silicon Saxony. We have succeeded in establishing the entire value chain from research and development to production in the free-market. And it is precisely the small and medium-sized enterprises that contribute to this success with their energy and their ideas. We support them, and that is why we believe that Saxony is the right place to host the GMIS forum.”

During the panel session, participants learned about the pivotal role of SMEs in building an inclusive and sustainable manufacturing sector, and the need to achieve the greatest form of integration between them and the OEMs within the framework of global value chains. The panelists also stressed on the need to encourage small and medium enterprises to invest in digital transformation, pointing out that these companies are still unable to catch up with the pace of development of 4IR technologies due to the associated large investment and the necessary upskilling of the workforce that come with digital transformation. Despite Germany’s phenomenal progress in the digital space, 80% of German SMEs are investing in digital technology, but only 20 per cent of these companies have been able to become leaders in digital transformation. Participants noted that the smaller the SME, the greater the risk they face from digital transformation, and therefore more efforts were needed to integrate SME’s and help them overcome the digital gap that threatens their existence.

Commenting on the MoU with the Saxony Economic Development Corporation, Badr Al-Olama, Chairman of Strata manufacturing PJSC and Head of the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit Organising Committee, said: “Germany has one of the world’s most competitive and innovative manufacturing sectors. Its technological leadership has led to the pioneering of fourth industrial revolution technologies globally, making it a global reference for countries that seek cutting-edge industrial capabilities. German manufacturers, innovators, researchers and policy makers can drive the global dialogue on the future of manufacturing, and share best practices on how manufacturing can lead to global prosperity and deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations.”

“The invaluable input from our roadshow partners in Germany marks the beginning of a journey to bring greater good to our global society through 4IR technologies. Our partnership with the Saxony Economic Development Corporation, which represents a progressive state with a very competitive manufacturing sector locally and globally, is key to achieving inclusive and sustainable industrial development,” he added.

WAM

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