The global machinery and industrial automation sector has been in a well-balanced equilibrium for decades—with only small shifts in revenue and market share, in the low single-digit percentage range. Now things are suddenly becoming exciting again.
This is because there seems to be a clear and widespread consensus among pundits and the sector’s players that two emerging global megatrends in their industry—shifting growth patterns and the increasing pace of digitization—will have a severe impact on strategic control points and value pools, forcing companies to rethink their business model. The trends’ effect on value pools are especially critical, because the ability of the sector’s players to hold on to the value they claim or capture the new value being created, or both—and to stake or maintain a claim in the new machinery and industrial automation landscape—is directly tied to their ability to occupy strategic control points along the evolving value chain.
Due to a lack of research and the complexity of the questions involved, however, very little is known regarding several issues:
Currently, most established players—OEMs, automation-device suppliers, and machine-control suppliers—are working on strategies to cope with shifting growth patterns and the resulting mix of unexpected high demand and declining growth in more mature technologies. At the same time, these players are preparing themselves to be best positioned to claim a share of the additional value expected to be created by digital manufacturing solutions, which we estimate will double to €32 billion worldwide by 2025.
The disruptive trend of digitization also attracts new players to participate in the market, especially in the space of software, platforms, and application providers. This diversification challenges the foothold that established players have enjoyed on strategic control points, for example, the machine-control layer in the automation technology stack. While the strategic cornerstones are often obvious and similar across players—for instance, securing core business, capturing additional value from digitization, and increasing internal efficiency—the exact chances of success of individual strategic measures and the threat from competition remains uncertain.
Against this challenging backdrop, in our report, we explored a few areas in particular:
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