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IDC Study on the Changing Face of Manufacturing

The IDC Manufacturing Survey examined how EMEA manufacturing companies are dealing with the current economic uncertainties. The manufacturing industry, especially SMEs, is considered the backbone of the economy in the DACH region.
E3 Magazine
November 21, 2023
This text has been automatically translated from German to English.

However, at the intersection of tradition and technology, the manufacturing industry has been facing multiple challenges for several years. This IDC study examines how individual business areas such as HR, finance, and IT can navigate through these uncertain times, and the role that technology can play in doing so. Raw material shortages, cost pressures, and cybercrime are challenging companies. The survey found that the manufacturing industry is currently facing numerous challenges. For 43 percent of respondents, the global shortage of components and raw materials is the number one issue. Persistent supply chain bottlenecks and increased competitive pressures are driving the need for agile decision making, resilience and flexibility.

In particular, the lack of digital, IT, and operational skills is seen as an obstacle.

Alexandra Hartung,
Head of Medium Enterprise Germany,

Skills and talent

The IDC study emphasizes that having the right skills and talent to meet these challenges is the foundation for successful transformation and sustainable, long-term growth. Alexandra Hartung, Head of Midmarket Germany at Workday, explains: "The study identifies key skills gaps that could slow down the transformation process. In particular, the lack of digital, IT, and operational skills is seen as an obstacle. This leads to delays in digital transformation, limited development of new business models, and higher rates of manufacturing waste. Successful transformation will be achieved by attracting skills and talent, improving the employee experience and increasing operational resilience."

52 percent of respondents highlight the need for skills development. This includes continually upskilling and retraining employees to meet current and future needs. In addition, 46 percent of respondents cited the need to invest in recruitment. The IDC study also highlights the need for Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs), Chief Information Officers (CIOs), and Chief Operating Officers (COOs) to work closely together to gather the right data and gain actionable insights.

Growth and order

It takes a collaborative effort to lay the groundwork for business growth and transformation. The Freudenberg Group, a global industrial group with businesses ranging from oil and fuel cell technology, household goods and cleaning products to automotive parts, textiles, building materials and telecommunications, employs more than 50,000 people in 60 countries.

Sarah O'Hare, Global Head of HR for the Freudenberg Group, explains: "There was an urgent need to modernize the complex and fragmented HR system. The ability to streamline HR processes and have a single source of truth for master data in one central location was a truly transformative solution for us. We were particularly impressed with the excellent mobile functionality that was implemented. Overall, it's been a great success across the board, especially in terms of increased efficiency. What used to take weeks or months and a lot of effort from our 800 HR professionals can literally be done in 30 seconds—sometimes as little as five—with Workday.

And Sarah O'Hare adds: "The Freudenberg Group's HR vision focuses on supporting the positive contribution that employees make to the business. We want to achieve two things in particular: First, to give employees the opportunity to advance their own careers. The second is to help HR partners and our managers expand their networks and communication capabilities. And that's exactly what Workday does for us.

Workday's Alexandra Hartung summarizes the IDC findings: "Investing in the employee experience is critical to positioning the manufacturing sector for sustainable growth. Only with specialized skills and advanced workforce strategies can manufacturing companies successfully meet these challenges.


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