Share of Czech firms investing in digitisation grows

The share of Czech companies investing in digitisation, automation and artificial intelligence has increased annually by 15 percentage points to 42 percent this year, according to a survey conducted among 99 firms, the Confederation of Industry said at an online conference.

In terms of robotic automation, Czechia is above the world average, with 101 robots per 10,000 employees, while the world average is 74 robots, Labour and Social Affairs Minister Jana Malacova said at an online employment forum today. Robots costs are falling significantly and in some sectors they are lower than labour costs, she said.

Businesses need to invest in machinery but mainly in their employees, according to her. "The latter's investment is one of the ways how to get out of crisis and at the same out of a cheap labour trap," said Malacova. Adapting to a new situation will be of key importance for the labour market that has to be flexible and employees willing to act accordingly, she added.

The companies investing in Industry 4.0 technologies spend 5-20 percent of their investment budgets on them, according to the survey. The survey has shown that the implementation of Industry 4.0 has fulfilled the expectations of a majority of respondents, said Eduard Palisek, the confederation's board member and Siemens Czech Republic CEO.

Small businesses need to realise the practical benefits of digital technologies. More than 50 percent of them are not pursuing digital transformation at all and over 40 percent of them consider it necessary but do not see its benefits, Palisek said. The survey has revealed that about 50 percent of companies intend to increase their investments in Industry 4.0 technologies in the next five years, while the other half wants to keep these investments at the current level.

Like last year, getting a lead over competitors or maintaining one's current position on the market are considered the main strategic benefits of digital transformation by respondents, according to the survey. As many as three fifths respondents invest in Industry 4.0 technologies mainly in order to increase their productivity, approximately the same percentage as last year.

The share of firms investing in digitisation due to a lack of employees decreased to 31 percent from last year's 38 percent. The percentage of companies investing in digitisation in order to accelerate their development and launch new products on the market more effectively has decreased mildly. Digitisation is proving to be the path towards increasing the value added and enhancing resilience against external negative influences, the Confederation of Industry's economic policy section head Bohuslav Cizek said.

The survey was conducted in Q3. About 50 percent of respondents had more than 250 employees, one third had 50-250 employees and less than one fifth had fewer than 50 employees. The respondents were engaged in engineering, the car, chemical and electrical industries, services, energy and transport.

Source: ČTK

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