Industry 4.0: time to accelerate

A year ago we wrote on these pages: in the note which updates the Economy and Finance Document (EFD), Industry 4.0 is included among the priorities of the support plan for companies, with a commitment to “confirm the measure in its general lines”.

Indeed, in the chapter dedicated to “Support for enterprises”, the Government’s action priorities included the strengthening of the “Industry 4.0” plan and the promotion of technological innovation. One thing is certain, we concluded: nothing will ever be the same again.

Is this really what happened? Only partly. In order to make our economy grow, even the new “yellow and red” government seems to place its bets on the fourth industrial revolution. Among objectives there is also the increase in support for SMEs, which should encourage the growth of private investments in startups and innovative SMEs. However, based on the result of the first term, in 2019 the growth of Industry 4.0 slowed down and the market shrank by 10-15% with respect to 2018, as the Industry 4.0 Observatory of Milan’s Polytechnic’s School of Management underlined. Italian companies are still backwards as regards full acceptance of Industry 4.0, even though many are making progress in this field. According to a recent survey, in our country only a very small part of the companies considered reached a more advanced state of digital development characterized by evolved 4.0 projects.
The gap between large and small companies also needs to be filled, particularly as regards the use of innovative technologies. On one hand, the best part of large companies defined a precise development plan, and uses innovative Industry 4.0 technologies, also taking advantage of the envisaged tax benefits. On the other hand, small and medium concerns find it difficult to adopt digital technologies and to access benefits, to say nothing of their weakness in terms of corporate culture, change governance and development strategy.