Push for digitization

Chronicle · Elin Nordmark, Siemens · 2021-11-30

Elin Nordmark, Siemens,

Sweden has long been an early adopter when it comes to new technology, but many of our large production companies are very traditional. It takes time to implement solutions and bring about lasting change. In the private sphere we are at the forefront, but in the industry, I feel that there is untapped potential.

We have the technology and knowledge to develop automation and digitization in place. The challenge is rather the leadership and understanding of the concepts. Digitization is about using data in the processes and decisions made at a company. For lasting change, this means that digitalization must permeate the entire company. A company is not digitized by sending production data to the cloud, simulating or using AI - the company is not digitized until it starts making decisions and implements improvements using data. Leaders in companies, authorities and politics must push companies to digitize - not only through interesting technical solutions, but by re-evaluating how their data is used.

I feel that there is a lack of attention to this issue. We should be proud of our large and successful Swedish companies, but we must also see the smaller companies and understand how much they contribute to Sweden's competitiveness and GDP. Then we can create strong incentives to digitize.

An example where digitization can be of great benefit is testing and improving the production environment. In Swedish industry, we are good at developing new products and testing them, but the production solutions are often put into operation without having undergone proper tests at system level. When there is no time and opportunity to carry out system testing in real life, testing in a virtual environment offers great opportunities.

Another untapped potential is research collaborations in production development, where implementation is often lacking. It works well in the first parts of the process, with idea, research, research collaboration and results - but then it stops. The projects are often completed without there being a plan for how the solution will be implemented and start creating value in the industry. Commercialization of the result must come in much earlier and clearer.

We live and operate in a global market, where despite component shortages and difficult logistics challenges, we still sell and buy internationally. In Sweden, we have clear rules regarding working environment, salary, and conditions, and we are very serious about what we may and may not do in terms of employment law. Our competitors have other terms and requirements that are often lower. This means that they can produce goods and products cheaper. We cannot, and should not, compete on those terms.

If we cannot work harder, we can simply work smarter and create a competitive production with the help of digitization and automation.

Elin Nordmark
Head of Product Management and Promotion, Factory Automation Sweden, Siemens